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One Public Estate

 

£490k Awarded to Transforming Bedfordshire Plans

£490k Boost for ‘Pioneering’ Programme Bringing New Homes, Jobs and Investment to the County

 

  • Regeneration of Bedford’s town centre
  • Health and care integration
  • Police and Fire and Rescue collaboration
  • Regeneration of former RAF base at Henlow

 

Funding of £490,000 was announced for Bedfordshire today as part of a national scheme to make best use of public sector assets.

 

The One Public Estate (OPE) programme is a pioneering initiative aimed at improving the management of public sector land and property that is currently underused or has the potential for improvement and development. OPE are working with almost three quarters of Councils in England with the aim of creating 44,000 new jobs, developing 25,500 new homes and reducing public sector running costs by £98 million.

 

 The funding will support a number of new initiatives including:

 

  • Developing plans that could see shared headquarters and collaborative working for Blue Light Services in the County.
  • Exploring the options for employment, housing and regeneration in a major mixed -use development at RAF Henlow.
  • Planned roll out of Health Hubs, providing more joined up care for residents across the county.

 

Minister Caroline Nokes MP said: “When I launched this application round in August I hoped that new funding and the obvious benefits of the programme would grab the attention of councils and boost the numbers getting involved. I’m delighted to see that we now have over 90% of councils on board, up from around three quarters previously. People in many more communities will feel the benefits of new housing, better public services and efficiencies as a result.”

 

Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford Borough said: “This programme is about public bodies working together to make best use of local publicly-owned land.  That’s what residents rightly expect of us, and we were already working on this basis here.  That’s why we have been well placed to press ahead on a series of fronts, and we’re delighted to have won more funding to help unlock more homes, jobs and economic growth.”

 

Cllr James Jamieson, Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council said: “Here in Bedfordshire we’re proud to be working across the public sector to develop and deliver innovative projects that are as much about financial efficiency as they are about improving services to local people.”

 

Paul Fuller CBE, Chief Fire Officer of Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Bedfordshire Police and Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service have been collaborating on a number of initiatives to deliver a more effective and efficient service to the public since 2016. This has included co-locating at Community Fire Stations, joint procurement of a drone and working together on locating missing persons and other initiatives.

“The funding made available today will enable us to carry out a feasibility study into a range of options for creating a joint headquarters to discover which might yield the greatest benefits to the local taxpayer and the two services.

 

“No final decision has been taken at this stage. A joint headquarters for the Police and Fire and Rescue Service could provide savings on capital and revenue costs and increase the range of opportunities to work together more closely in pursuit of overall service improvements. Both Police and Fire will retain their independence and identity whilst gaining from the benefits associated with co-location.”

 

Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council joined the OPE programme in April 2016. Since then, this has progressed with an ambitious programme of work focused on regenerating Bedford town centre and delivering projects aimed at improving health and social care integration across Bedfordshire, in order to provide integrated health and social care closer to where people live.

 

The OPE programme involves working in partnership with a number of organisations including the Bedfordshire Police, the NHS, Network Rail, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and local housing associations; already this has achieved a number of successes through cross organisational working.

 

 Early successes for the OPE programme include:

·        Former bpha offices in Horne Lane in Bedford town centre have been converted into twenty three residential units, providing low cost housing and creating eleven jobs.

·        A number of the Bedfordshire Police staff have been relocated to Borough Hall in Bedford following an extensive renovation. This has been integral to work surrounding Greyfriars police station in Bedford town centre that will be taking place as the project progresses.

·        Co-location of Police and Fire and Rescue teams at Leighton Buzzard, Barkers Lane and Ampthill Fire Station.

·        The Raleigh Training Centre has being refurbished to create a dedicated training suite and meeting space available to all Bedfordshire public services. 

·        Development of a complex needs service centre is underway on the former site of the Clarence Hotel, St John’s Street Bedford.

·        Conversion of Endsleigh House in Bedford, former nursing accommodation site, to residential units has been agreed. The site is expected to yield over 40 resident units.

·         Progress is being made on an Integrated Health and Care Hub on the Biggleswade Hospital site.

·         Work has also started on planning for an Integrated Health and Care Hub in Dunstable, which will allow GP Practices to work closely together with other health and social care teams.

 

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