Extract from The Bedford Town Centre Action Plan submission version – July 2006

Grand Union Canal Crick Wharf
Grand Union Canal Crick Wharf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“By 2021, Bedford town centre will feel very different to how it does today. It will be a destination of choice for customers, visitors and also those people seeking a good night out. It will have reclaimed its role as the county town within a fast growing sub-region supported by a dynamic local economy.

It will have a personality of its own, celebrating its natural heritage (including its historic medieval street pattern), culture and riverside location. Importantly it will have emerged from the shadow cast by Milton Keynes and occupy a complementary position providing a distinctive offer. This will be founded upon energetic and flourishing businesses, providing value, good quality and a wide range of shopping, eating and leisure experiences. The town centre will be bustling, prosperous and safe. More people will live in the centre. More people will work in the centre. More people will visit the centre. The evening economy will be attractive to all. Residents will feel proud of their town centre.

Redevelopment will have increased the quantity and range of retail space, together with additional dwellings and leisure facilities. Bedford’s shopping will have regained its former glory with fewer cars, better air quality and the streetscene transformed by public art and al fresco eating. A campus of office buildings centred on the new station will be occupied by internationally branded companies and occupiers that have relocated from other cities justifying Bedford’s growing reputation as a regional centre.

The riverside will be embraced into the town centre with signature buildings, their activities spilling out on to a quayside crowded with rowing boats and canal craft en-route from the Grand Union Canal. The Castle Lane cultural quarter will be buzzing with visitors examining Plantagenet remains and the latest touring exhibitions or sipping cafe latte and watching the swans.

The Western Bypass and an elegant new bridge at Batts Ford will have improved traffic circulation, access from Bedford’s catchment will have improved and the gold standard multi-storey car parks will be both safe and busy. Park and ride bus services will have linked with the new railway and bus stations ensuring that passengers have safe and convenient journeys and easy access to all the facilities.

Public transport and cycling facilities will have significantly improved and both will have played an important
role in reducing congestion. Rail services to London and the Midlands will have become quicker and more frequent, even offering direct links to Paris and Brussels.”

I make no comment.


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