My family moved to Bedford when I was nine years old, yet I can barely remember a time when people weren’t saying that Bedford bus station was an unattractive gateway which let our town down.
Despite this, we have had several decades of false dawns and dashed hopes for regeneration of the bus station and its surroundings. Not any more. The opening of Bedford’s brand new bus station is just days away, with March 29 confirmed as the big day.
We worked to deliver this project in the face of the council’s extraordinary funding pressures because we know how important a new bus station is for bus users and for our town centre. The new bus station itself is obviously just one feature of the wider regeneration project we have pursued in the area. This has already seen the dramatic transformation of the multi-storey car park, new public toilets, a new surface car park, new paving, smart new shop fronts and more.
Another familiar cry from all quarters over the years has been that Bedford needs a western bypass, to take unnecessary north-south traffic out of a congested town centre. This has been in plans and strategies for more than 50 years, so it is fantastic to see construction of the final section well underway after our successful Compulsory Purchase Order helped to remove an extraordinary series of obstacles which had previously blocked progress. The new road will boost the local economy, while making it easier for road users to get into and around Bedford.
A live webcam trained on the bus station has allowed people to watch the new facility rising from the ground, while recent aerial photos have revealed the extent of progress on the bypass, which is really taking shape already. You can see these striking images on my Facebook page or my website, at www.mayordave.org.uk