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2014 to See Further Progress on Key Borough Infrastructure Projects

December 31, 2013 8:34 AM

Dave Hodgson with Town Bridge behind

Writing in his monthly column in the Times and Citizen newspaper, Mayor Dave Hodgson has looked back at some of local economic highlights of 2013, and identified some of the challenges and opportunities for 2014, in particular around major infrastructure projects. The full article is reproduced below:

This time between Christmas and the New Year always lends itself to a look back over the year just gone and to thoughts of the twelve months ahead. 2013 certainly has been an eventful year in Bedford Borough. The local economy has seen a record number of new business registrations, unemployment falling, apprenticeships soaring and town centre footfall rising. We have also seen important new investment, such as at the new Morrison's on the long-derelict, symbolic former Camford Works site on Ampthill Road. Other major retailers such as B&Q have also followed the path taken by Waitrose and many others in recent times by backing Bedford.

Times are still very challenging, and there is much more to do. Look out next year for continued progress in vital local infrastructure, for example, as East West Rail to Oxford continues on track for 2017, and we continue to lobby for the link to Cambridge and beyond. I have approved the commencement of Compulsory Purchase Order Proceedings for the Western Bypass in order to overcome the obstacles that have held back this crucial scheme for far too long. Black cat improvement works begin in the spring. Plus, of course, construction of a brand new Bedford Bus station begins in January, as the wider regeneration of that area continues.

While these projects all represent exciting opportunities for Bedford Borough, I cannot look ahead to 2014 without highlighting a major threat hanging over us. The fight for Bedford Hospital's future goes on, with the current review placing all services under question unnecessarily at a time when we should be backing our local hospital and working to improve services, not threaten them.

Finally, I hope you and your loved ones have had a wonderful Christmas and wish you a happy and prosperous new year

Mayor Dave Hodgson