A programme of roadworks across Bedford has come at a terrible time for the town’s businesses, according to Cllr Roger Rigby.
Network Rail’s rebuild of the Bromham Road railway bridge began in June, enabling the upgrade to the Midland Main Line, closed the road to vehicles until the spring of 2020. At the same time, Bedford Borough Council is undertaking its ‘Transporting Bedford 2020’ project, investing £15.5m of Government funds to alleviate congestion at ‘pinch points’ in the town, including Manton Lane and Britannia Road.
Cllr Rigby is now asking residents to dodge the roadworks and back Bedford town centre’s businesses rather than shopping elsewhere. He said:
‘Town centre footfall reduced by 4.8% in 2018 compared with 2017, while the latest figures for January – May 2019 showed a 4.3% fall compared with the same period last year. This, coupled with the closure of our premier department store Marks & Spencer in May, demonstrates a serious need for new thinking and significant investment in the town centre.
‘People are telling me with all the roadworks it is easier to go to other, nearby shopping destinations 20 – 30 minute journeys away where the parking is cheap or free, but the experience is better in Bedford with The Higgins museum, the Embankment and our fantastic independent shops.
‘The Conservative Group urges people to support Bedford town centre by using our shops, cafes, restaurants and cinema. It is worth a few minutes spent in traffic to enjoy all the excellent things Bedford has to offer.’