Work to start on grand scheme to improve ‘Gateway to Bedford’

‘Once in a generation opportunity to invest in Midland Road and help create a vibrant corridor connecting train station and town centre’
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Work is expected to start ‘imminently’ on a regeneration scheme to improve the Midland Road area of town referred to as ‘the Gateway to Bedford’.

The scheme, focusing on Midland Road, Ashburnham Road and the train station, is one part of the £22.6m Bedford Town Deal secured in June 2021.

Proposals include improving shopfronts and buildings to enhance visitors’ entrance to the town. Some plans for new rental flats on the corner of Midland Road and Greyfriars have already been submitted and this week gone out to consultation. See full story here

Work is expected to start imminently on the Midland Road regeneration schemeWork is expected to start imminently on the Midland Road regeneration scheme
Work is expected to start imminently on the Midland Road regeneration scheme

Modelled on the successful High Street schemes run by the Borough Council, more than £1.4m funding will be used as grants to cover 80 per cent of the cost as an incentive for owners to invest in their businesses and buildings.

The council says the project will be a once in a generation opportunity to invest in Midland Road and help create a vibrant corridor connecting the train station and town centre.

Samantha Laycock, chair of the Bedford Town Deal Board, said: “The plans for Midland Road are really exciting and represent positive progress in bringing our town investment plan to life.

“Midland Road is the primary gateway from Bedford Train Station into the town centre and this investment will help regenerate a key area of our great town.

“The funding we’ve secured to help breathe new life into this area will not only help improve the physical condition of the corridor, it is also providing new shopfronts to businesses in the that are such an essential part of the local community.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the visible difference this will bring to Midland Road.”

Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson, said: “This is an important part of our plan to continue to grow Bedford Borough as a great place to live, work and stay.

“The project will help restore Midland Road as a key entry point to the town and town centre and as well as improving the overall look and feel of the town, will help make the premises in the area become more secure and energy efficient, helping to reduce energy costs as well.

“The shopfront improvement project is just one part of the Midland Road scheme, with additional project to invest in the public realm – the environment we walk, cycle and drive through – also planned for this same stretch of Midland Road.”

The council’s Town Deal Manager and expert teams are currently in talks with Midland Road property owners to engage them in the scheme and expect works to begin in 2023.

If you own a property between Greyfriars to Ashburnham Road, contact the Town Deal manager by emailing [email protected] for more information.

> Works have begun at Bedford College’s Cauldwell Street campus for the first of six major Bedford Town Deal projects within the successful bid for £22.6m to invest in the local area.

The works, scheduled to be completed by summer 2023, are part of a £12.6m project to deliver a Health, Science and Digital Skills Centre at the college. The Bedford Town Deal programme included £3m of funding to make the plans possible.