Funds in Place for Bus Station Regeneration
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough
While everyone has their own views and ideas on improvements which are desired or required for Bedford Town Centre, there is one opinion that seems to be shared almost universally. This is of course the view that Bedford bus station has for many years been in sore need of improvement. In fact, this has been recognised for decades, and as Mayor I have been absolutely determined that we make real progress on what has been an unacceptable situation for residents for too long. That's why, in one of my first acts as Mayor, I signed an agreement with Stagecoach which saw an immediate investment of £67,000 in improvements such as a new paint job and CCTV to increase security for bus users. As we all know, however, what we really need is a more fundamental overhaul of the site and the facilities there. That's why I'm delighted that thanks to a lot of hard work and sound financial management at the Council, we have been able to put together a fund of £6.25 million to deliver an improved bus station.
The fund has been assembled using savings and underspends which have been delivered, such as through the favourable agreement reached to resolve the contractual mess inherited from the former County Council over the first phase of the western bypass.
The regeneration will include an improved bus station and the essential refurbishment of the Allhallows Multi-Storey Car Park and public toilets. With the funds we have in place, we are close to delivering the improvement to this key gateway for Bedford which we all want to see, in spite of the economic climate holding back regeneration in places around the country. There is still work to be done, however, for example with bus operators and planners, but at last we can now start the ball rolling towards delivering this vital project for the town centre.
With other schemes such as the heritage-based regeneration of the High Street, the redevelopment of the Higgins Bedford art gallery and museum and Riverside North progressing, there are a number of reasons to be cheerful about Bedford Town Centre's prospects. We will need to work very hard to deliver on the promise of these exciting developments at what is a tough time for all town centres, and you can be assured that we will do so. In the case of Bedford bus station, I know that improvements cannot be delivered a moment too soon, and that's why with the funds now in place all efforts will be on turning the hopes for regeneration into reality.