£25m Bedford Town Investment Plan ready for review

Bedford bidding for up to £25million funding from Central Government

In September 2019, Bedford was named as one of 101 towns that could bid for up to £25million from Central Government for a Town Deal.

To access this funding, the Town Deal Board, supported by Bedford Borough Council will need to put forward projects that fall into three key areas:

- Urban regeneration, planning and land use

Bedford Town Centre

- Skills enterprise and infrastructure

- Connectivity

Bedford Borough Council’s Executive is being asked to endorse the draft Town Investment Plan at its meeting on 16 September, in support of the Town Deal Board which is responsible for giving final approval of the Town Investment Plan.

The plan sets out a clear vision and strategy for how the money will be used in Bedford and details a number of projects that will have a significant positive impact on the town.

Development of the Town Investment Plan has been overseen by the Town Deal Board, which includes public and private sector leaders and community representatives and will be asked to recommend submission of the Plan to the Government at its meeting on October 12.

Projects have been informed by the outcome of the town centre consultation exercise carried out in 2019.

The main projects set out within the draft Town Investment Plan include:

- Regeneration of the station quarter

- Regeneration of Midland Road

- St. Paul’s Square public realm improvements

- Improvements to town centre junctions

- Improvements to cycling infrastructure.

In addition, the council has submitted a bid for almost £1m, which will be used for:

- Enhancements to Silver Street Square

- Cycling enhancements across Bedford

- Upgrading the Mill Meadow bandstand

- Improving events infrastructure in the town centre

- Improving pedestrian mobility in the town centre.

Councillor Henry Vann said: “This shared, ambitious vision for Bedford is in its exciting final stages. The Plan is inspired and informed by countless discussions with residents, local businesses, our outstanding independents, Love Bedford and under the leadership of the Town Deal Board.

“In these nationally challenging times we are already seeing further investment in Bedford and in the Town Centre, with the more immediately deliverable projects being accelerated to improve connectivity and start the process of linking our Town Centre together alongside our beautiful river Great Ouse.

“As we continue to work together to counter COVID-19, the Town Investment Plan gives us a reason to be excited about the future of Bedford.”

Samantha Laycock, chair of the Town Deal Board said, “It’s great to see the Town Investment Plan coming together.

"Since January, members of the board have worked hard to develop a vision of the future of our town centre.

"Alongside our partners, AECOM, we feel the Town Investment Plan has brought together ideas that are going to bring long-term benefits to Bedford.

“We really appreciate the feedback of residents that took park in the Town Centre consultation last year. Their contributions have informed the decisions we made at every stage of the process.”

Once the draft Town Investment Plan has been approved by the Town Deal Board, the final version will be submitted to Central Government by 31 October 2020.

Projects agreed by the Government must be delivered by March 2026.