Town 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
- Skills enterprise and infrastructure
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. The Board is responsible for giving final approval of the Plan.
The Plan sets out a vision and strategy for how the money will be used in Bedford. It also details a number of projects that will have a “significant positive impact” on the town. 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.”
Development of the Town Investment Plan has been overseen by the Town Deal Board. The Board 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 12 October.
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
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.”
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
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.