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You are here: Home Page > Council and Democracy > Council News > Archived News > September 2011 > Study collects ideas for River

Study collects ideas for River's future

An exciting new study has been released today by Bedford Borough Council and the Environment Agency which brings together a broad range of ideas on how the River Great Ouse could be used by an even wider range of people.

The River Great Ouse is often referred to as the ‘Jewel in the Crown of Bedford’ for the beauty of the river itself and surrounding embankments. The study is intended to provide interested parties with a better knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and challenges along the river to help shape its future development.

A range of views has been collected from local people and groups who already use the river to bring together as many ideas as possible about how the river should be used to benefit the widest range of people; from anglers to canoeists, rowers to ramblers and businesses to community groups.

The document is also intended to be used to inform future developments such as Riverside North, which will have a significant impact on the riverside. The study aims to capitalise on developments such as this to provide a catalyst for regeneration and sustainable development that encourages the widest possible use of the river. It also looks at the opportunity to link up with the Grand Union Canal through the proposed new Bedford Milton Keynes Waterway.

As well as providing an analysis of the key strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for Bedford’s Waterspace, the study provides detailed maps of the area linked to the suggestions that have been put forward.

Schemes already moving forward include:

• Riverside North

• Railway underpass

• Great Denham cycleways/footpaths

• Boatslide Weir Hydro Project

• New Weed Cutting Equipment


Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “The river is absolutely the jewel in Bedford’s crown, and this study aims to maximise the opportunities to make the river available for everyone. With projects and views collected locally this document will help to shape future developments along the route, creating a healthy, enjoyable and sustainable future for our most important asset.”

The study was brought together by Richard Glen Associates on behalf of Bedford Borough Council and Environment Agency. The study covers the River Great Ouse from Old Bromham Bridge downstream, to the junction of the Bedford Milton Keynes Waterway link in the vicinity of Kempston Weir, and eastwards through Bedford town centre to Willington Lock.

Erin Witcomb-Vos, Fens Waterways Link Partnership Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “Waterways animate our towns and replenish our countryside, but above all, rivers form part of a larger pattern of landscape which connects people, wildlife and ideas.

“The jointly-funded Bedford Waterspace Study focuses on all aspects of the river corridor and presents a vision for the town’s development and regeneration as an important waterways destination.

“The launch event on 30 September provided a fantastic opportunity for us to share the findings of the study with all those people who played their part in helping to shape it.”

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