Bedford Borough Council has bid for £14.9 million from the Government’s ‘Levelling Up Fund’ to make major improvements to Kempston town centre.
It's hoped through the funding, footfall will be increased - and the council has put together a package of works to make it easier to get to the town centre, and make it more tempting to stay longer once you’re there.
If successful, the money will be invested in regeneration around the Saxon Centre including improving the public area and making the area safer.
These plans include creating space for events and community gatherings at the plaza, as well as new ‘pop up’ flexible space for businesses at a refurbished office block near the centre.
The council also plans to invest in a new and upgraded walking and cycling infrastructure and improve access to public transport.
The council expects to hear from the Government if they have been successful in the autumn.
Cllr Henry Vann, portfolio holder for town centres, said “This is an exciting bid for Kempston town centre, developed in consultation with Kempston Town Council and building on previous plans. It is a great opportunity to restore and enhance accessibility and we hope the bid is successful.
“If successful, these ambitious plans will help transform the look and feel of the area around the Saxon Centre, and Kempston town centre more widely, encouraging visitors, shoppers, more businesses and public services to come to Kempston.
"At the same time, the improvements to transport will make it easier for people to get to the town centre.”
Carl Meader, Kempston mayor and deputy leader of Kempston Town Council, said: “There have been some really positive discussions in the run-up to this bid about the future of Kempston town centre, and this is a great opportunity to potentially deliver some real improvements to this area.
“We are hopeful that all the hard work to bring this bid together will pay off and enable us to bring these ambitious plans to life.”
Kay Burley, Kempston Town Council leader, said: “A long awaited investment in Kempston will be very welcome. The bid proposes some major improvements to several areas, including certain roads and pavements plus improvements to the Mill Bridge.
"The Saxon Centre is a focal point of Kempston and it would be fantastic if the area had a ‘facelift’."