At this is time of year many of us reflect on the last 12 months. While the council has faced many challenges, we’ve had many successes too.
Reflecting our commitment to improve services we refurbished libraries in Potton, Shefford and Stotfold – part of a wider modernisation programme. As well as enhancing customers’ experiences, these improvements will cut running costs – helping us meet our commitment to freeze council tax.
With our population rising, our responsibility to meet the future accommodation needs of all our communities has been a major theme. To ensure new homes are properly served we’ve completed some key traffic schemes as well as securing hundreds of new school places locally.
2013 has been a good year for our schools. Many more were rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted and our students improved GCSE and A-level pass rates.
Fire destroys huge area of land at Great Denham Golf Course
'Sophisticated crime group' behind £1.1m stolen from Luton council that was destined for a Bedford school
Anglian Water rules out hosepipe ban for Bedford households
Man charged with burglary and assaulting an emergency worker in Flitwick
Bedford bus company revises timetable after passenger numbers review
Employment has also been a big focus. By running work clubs, supporting recruitment fairs and promoting apprenticeships we’ve helped many people into work.
There are many more things to look forward to in 2014. We’re starting to deliver superfast broadband to around 15,500 homes and businesses across Central Bedfordshire. By the time the roll-out has finished during 2016 we’ll have met our target of 90 per cent of premises having super-speed access.
We’re also rolling out our leisure plans, including developing the facilities at Saxon Pool and Leisure Centre. We’re aiming to extend community-based leisure activities too.
I wish everyone a happy 2014 and every success for the year ahead.