Boost Local Economy
Have your say on plan to boost local
Residents and businesses in Bedford Borough
are being urged to have their say on a draft blueprint for economic
growth to ensure that it reflects local needs and priorities.
Developed by Bedford Borough Council, the
‘Growth Plan 2016 – 2020’ focuses on five key themes that will help
the area grow and prosper in the coming years.
These are supporting growth of start-up and
existing businesses, attracting new business to the Borough,
bringing forward employment sites faster, promoting the vitality of
Bedford’s town centre and supporting local people into local
It also highlights a number of priority
projects and programmes that can help to meet the key aims. These
include the completion of the Bedford Western Bypass and Riverside
North development, achieving 100 per cent superfast broadband
coverage for the whole of the Borough, the planned new Marston Vale
Innovation and Business Park off the A421 near Wootton, the
East-West rail link joining Bedford to Oxford and Cambridge, and
the development of the Fairhill employment site at the northern end
of the new bypass.
Town centre projects that have been identified
include further improvements to the buildings on the High Street to
attract new businesses, investment in the road network,
refurbishing the retail units surrounding the bus station and
improving the town centre public realm.
A key focus of the plan will be to encourage
businesses to remain in and grow, or to relocate to the Borough,
which will in turn provide new jobs and also increase business
rates income. It is estimated that significant growth in retained
business rates can be achieved, subject to a continued improvement
in the national economy over the period.
Demand-led skills development, closer
relationships between education providers and business, as well as
promoting apprenticeship opportunities, are also identified as
important focus areas.
Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said:
“Taking a strategic approach to supporting economic growth locally
is crucial. Bedford Borough is a fantastic place to do business and
improving our economy is a top priority.
“Now is the time for us to capitalise on the
real infrastructure improvements that have been delivered and those
coming through, like the Bedford Western Bypass, as we work to
attract more businesses and employment to our Borough.”
Since the Borough’s first growth plan was
adopted in 2013, the Council has delivered key infrastructure
projects such as the redevelopment of the Bedford bus station area
and partnered with owners and investors to improve town centre
Significant new investment in the Borough over
the past few years has included the recently completed Premier Inn
Hotel and Brewers Fayre, new Iceland store at Church Lane, and the
new Morrison’s supermarket, M&S Simply Food and B&Q stores.
There are currently two major development schemes on site at
Riverside North and the Apex Site off Wallis Way near Priory
Business Park, with more in the pipeline with planning
The consultation will run until 31 May. To
view the proposals, please visit www.bedford.gov.uk/growthplan