Shoppers are abandoning town and heading to Milton Keynes to avoid traffic misery

Bedford's Interchange Park.
Bedford's Interchange Park.

Traffic chaos is forcing people to abandon a Bedford shopping destination and spend their cash out of town.

Frustrated motorists, who are fed up with queuing to get in and out of the Bedford interchange and retail park complexes, say they’d rather go to Milton Keynes to spend their cash.

The problems are particularly bad at weekends when shoppers are held up in long queues of traffic around the area.

After a frustrating visit to the retail base, Donna Milligan said: “I now find it quicker to stay on the bypass and go to MK than shop at the retail park. Not good for local business is it?

“Sitting in a car waiting 30 minutes just to exit the car park doesn’t make for a happy shopping trip.

“You cannot keep adding new retail units and expect a single carriage road with road blocking traffic lights in Kempston to manage all the extra traffic the retail park generates.

“A serious look at road traffic management in the area needs to done and better exits from the park restored such as re-opening the slip road that runs parallel going to Kempston.”

An M&S Foodhall, Costa Coffee and car dealership Motorvogue have recently opened their doors at the Interchange Park, joining hardware store B&Q, which moved in during phase one of the Ampthill Road development back in 2013.

It neighbours the Interchange Retail Park, which boasts 13 retail stores including Next, TK Maxx and Toys R Us.

Shopper Gillian Dickens said it took her 40 minutes to get out of the park during a weekend visit. “The traffic lights are ridiculous,” she said. “They only let about five cars through before they change to red again and you wait nearly five minutes before it’s back to green again, madness.”

Jules Julz added: “I’ve given up with the place. I could get to and from Milton Keynes quicker.”

Owners of the Interchange Park, the Howard Group, and Bedford Borough Council have not yet commented on the traffic issues.