The River Festival is back this year and like the rest of the town, Bedfordshire Police is looking forward to the highlight of the Bedford summer.
Police will be out in force to meet, greet and assist visitors to Bedford River Festival who in 2012 numbered more than 300,000 across a gloriously sunny weekend.
Although most visitors don’t need help with anything more serious than locating a lost child or stolen purse, because of the sheer volume of people it’s one of the biggest operations in the policing calendar.
A police spokeswoman said: “If you’re coming to the festival, it’s worth giving a bit of thought to some basics before you set off to ensure that you have a great time and #staysafe.
“There will be some roads closed (see below) and expected traffic congestion around the town so it’s best to use the park and ride, bus or train to get into town. Even if you’re not planning on attending be aware your usual routes may not be accessible.
“Wherever you park your car, make sure you don’t leave valuables on display inside it and police advice is to leave valuables at home so they don’t get lost or stolen.
“If you’re planning to cycle, make sure your bike has a good lock and use it. And if you’re leaving the car behind to enjoy a few beers in the sunshine, please remember to keep the drinking to a sensible level. The most frequent issue the police have to deal with later on in the day are those who have had too much alcohol and are either causing a nuisance, are in danger of falling in the water or have got involved in some minor crime as a result.”
Chief Insp Mark Upex, who is in command of this year’s operation, said: “During the 2012 festival, which was one of the biggest crowds we’ve seen, we enjoyed a very busy but peaceful event and only had to make 13 arrests. We’d like this year’s event to be a repeat of that.”
Visitors who do need the police will find the mobile police station parked near the corner of The Embankment and Bushmead Avenue.
Lots more information on the festival, getting there, the programme and a map is available at http://www.bedfordcornexchange.co.uk/outdoorevents/ and you can follow all the action on twitter using #bedriverfest.
Roads affected are:
Friday 18 July 7-10pm:
The Embankment: From Albany Road to Bushmead Avenue.
Rothsay Road: From The Embankment to Waterloo Road.
Saturday 19 July 7am to 00.30 Sunday 20 July and Sunday 20 July 7am-10pm:
The Embankment: The whole length.
Newnham Road: The whole length.
Albany Road: The whole length.
Rothsay Road: From The Embankment to Castle Road.
Bushmead Avenue: From The Embankment to Castle Road.
Waterloo Road: The whole length.
Russell Avenue: The whole length.
Howbury Street: From Russell Avenue to Castle Road.
Bower Street: From Russell Avenue to Castle Road.
Pembroke Street: From Russell Avenue to Castle Road.
York Street: From Russell Avenue to Castle Road.
Denmark Street: From Russell Avenue to Castle Road.
Dudley Street: From Russell Avenue to Castle Road.
George Street: From Russell Avenue to Castle Road.
Shaftesbury Avenue: The whole length.
Kingsley Road: The whole length.
Tennyson Road: The whole length.
Beresford Road: The whole length.
Sunday 20 July 8am-2pm:
De Parys Avenue: The whole length.
Foster Hill Road: Prohibits vehicles travelling southbound from Roff Avenue to The Broadway.
Sunday 20 July 11am-2pm:
The Broadway: From Foster Hill Road to High Street.
St Peter’s Street: From St Cuthbert’s Street to High Street.
Dame Alice Street: The whole length.
High Street: The whole length.
Mill Street: The whole length.
St Paul’s Square: The whole length.
Horne Lane: From the Harpur Centre car park to St Paul’s Square.
St Mary’s Street: The whole length.
You can beat the traffic and let the train take the strain to Bedford River Festival.
Special train services will be operating throughout the weekend on the Marston Vale Line (Bedford to Bletchley)
In addition to the normal hourly service there will be the following:
• Late Saturday evening ‘Fireworks Flyer’ leaving Bedford Midland at 11:10pm and Bedford St. Johns at 11:13pm calling at all stations to Bletchley, arriving at 11:53pm
• Special Sunday service between 10:00am and 5:00pm leaving at approximately hourly intervals from Bletchley and Bedford.
Hop off at Bedford St. Johns for the short walk along the river to the Festival Site.
The off-peak return fare between Bletchley and Bedford is just £6.70 with children between 5 and 15 travelling at £3.35. Under 5s go free! Bedfordshire Concessionary Travel Pass holders travel for half-price!
Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre will be opening specially to tie in with the Sunday service from 10am – 4pm, including restored Victorian Ticket Office, Gift Shop, Tourist Information Point & Tea Rooms.