Bedford Borough Council’s Conservative Group has unveiled a 36 point plan to make Bedford a premier destination for ‘living, working and leisure.’
Positive changes including a children’s play area, pocket parks and a community square for crafts and food stalls would help ‘reinvent’ the town centre and meet the challenge posed by out of town and online retailing. Bedford’s footfall fell by 4.82% in 2018 in comparison with the previous year and the first five months of 2019 saw a continuation of this trend.
The Conservative Group’s plan responds to the Borough Council’s ‘Future of Bedford Town Centre’ consultation. It sets out proposals for:
- A proactive approach from the Council to purchase units for mixed use spaces, such as a start-up hub for new businesses;
- Harpur Square and Riverside North to become focal points for a variety of events including music and dance;
- Public art trails, treasure hunts and activities for families;
- Urgent working with the Midland Road community to improve the area’s living environment, and;
- Promoting housing opportunities in the urban area.
Cllr Graeme Coombes, Conservative Group Leader, said:
‘Gianni Carofano made it clear during the Mayoral election campaign that an ambitious town centre strategy should be a priority. It is positive that the current Mayor has taken heed of this and we are very pleased to contribute our ideas.
Cllr Phillippa Martin-Moran-Bryant, Conservative Town Centre Spokesperson, said:
‘The town centre must be a community space for living, working and leisure. If we can give people lots of reasons to visit then we will be able to support our fantastic independent shops and ensure Bedford is attractive to national retailers.
‘There is a need to look at the overall feel of the town centre and ensure it offers something for everyone. Positive changes such as a play area, treasure hunts and heritage trails for children would make the town centre much more welcoming to families. This is an exciting opportunity for Bedford town centre to thrive.’
The Conservative Group's full town centre plan can be seen via the attachment.