More traffic misery is in store as Aldi plans to open two stores in town

An artist's impression of the new Aldi supermarket planned for Clapham Raod, Bedford PNL-151021-133858001
An artist's impression of the new Aldi supermarket planned for Clapham Raod, Bedford PNL-151021-133858001

Traffic misery is set to get worse for long suffering motorists with plans for two new budget supermarkets in the town.

Bedford Borough Council has admitted there is no ‘obvious solution’ to gridlocked roads but have pledged to not give up on driving forward to find an answer.

Planning applications have been submitted for two new Aldi stores in Clapham Road and Ampthill Road.

It comes as Councillor Anthony Boutall has urged the council to explore every possible option to end ‘unbearable’ congestion on Ampthill Road, Elstow Road and Cow Bridge.

He fears the problem will get worse if plans for an Aldi supermarket close to the Morrisons store in Ampthill Road go ahead.

Mr Boutall said: “The traffic congestion around Ampthill, Cow Bridge and Elstow Road is unbearable and in desperate need of improvement.

“Kempston residents and others from further afield are suffering from lack of action, and this problem will only be further compounded by the introduction of another supermarket with no major changes.

“I was grateful to hear from the deputy mayor that officers are continuously looking at options and that action has been taken where possible, but I look forward to hearing and seeing meaningful solutions as soon as possible.

“This problem is as bad as I can ever remember, and needs action now. I will continue to press for a resolution in the coming months.

During the summer, Aldi submitted plans for a new food store in Ampthill Road and this week a planning application has been lodged for Clapham Road, next door to the existing Sainsbury’s superstore.

It will make use of a site that has been derelict for 15 years following the demolition of a factory and will create 50 new jobs, while the Ampthill Road site could offer up to 40 jobs.

A spokesman for Bedford Borough Council confirmed officers are looking into solutions to ease traffic and said action is being taken where possible but did not reveal the details.

“We have no further comment to add,” she said.

The council has also said that it will not be reopening the slip road to Bedford’s Interchange Park after shopper’s told the T&C last week that they are abandoning the town and shopping in Milton Keynes to avoid queues of traffic.

A spokesman said: “Bedford Borough Council and Highways England discussed re-opening the slip road at the Interchange Park and Highways England refused for safety reasons.”

She added that traffic light sequence is not a ‘feasible way to manage traffic at such a large junction’.