Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council have won further funding as part of the One Public Estate programme.
Over half a million pounds was awarded last year to enable a programme of initiatives aimed at improving the management of public sector assets, and this month a further £197,500 was granted as part of the second phase of the national project.
The One Public Estate (OPE) programme is a pioneering initiative aimed at improving the management of public sector land and property that is currently underused or has the potential for improvement and development.
OPE are working with almost three quarters of councils in England with the aim of creating 44,000 new jobs, developing 25,500 new homes and reducing public sector running costs by £98 million.
Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council joined the OPE programme in April 2016.
Since then this has progressed with an ambitious programme of work focused on regenerating Bedford town centre and delivering projects aimed at improving health and social care integration across Bedfordshire, in order to provide integrated health and social care closer to where people live.
The OPE programme involves working in partnership with a number of organisations including the Bedfordshire Police, the NHS, Network Rail, and local housing associations; and in their first year the team have celebrated a number of successes through cross organisational working.
Early successes for the OPE programme include former bpha offices in Horne Lane in Bedford town centre have been converted into twenty three residential units, providing low cost housing and creating eleven jobs.
A number of the Bedfordshire Police staff have been relocated to Borough Hall in Bedford following an extensive renovation.
This has been integral to work surrounding Greyfriars police station in Bedford town centre that will be taking place as the project progresses.
The Raleigh Training Centre is being refurbished to create a dedicated training suite and meeting space available to all Bedfordshire public services.
Development of a complex needs service centre is underway on the former site of the Clarence Hotel, St John’s Street Bedford.
Planned conversion of Endsleigh House in Bedford, former nursing accommodation site, to residential units has been agreed. The site is expected to yield over 40 resident units.
Progress is being made on an Integrated Health and Care Hub on the Biggleswade Hospital Site.
Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “The One Public Estate programme has helped the councils to bring public bodies together in the task of making the most of local public land and property on behalf of the community at large.
“By working across different sectors, it will allow us to deliver schemes that will have the biggest impact for local residents.
“In the first year the team have had many successes, and these are set to grow as this fantastic project delivers economic regeneration and integration across Bedford Borough.”
Councillor Brian Spurr, Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive Member for Health, added: “Our ambition is to use the One Public Estate funding to help us bring together health and social care in a way that is accessible to local people – improving the health care experience, developing more productive partnerships and making better use of public assets.
“We will continue to work together to develop integrated health and care hubs in Central Bedfordshire to provide local access to sustainable integrated services for an ageing and growing population.”