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Works Underway on Two Major Town Centre Regeneration Schemes

January 28, 2014 5:53 PM

Mayor Dave Hodgson outside the Town Hall office block following commencement of demolition worksYesterday, Monday 27th January, saw two major projects delivering real regeneration to Bedford Town Centre get underway. At Bedford Bus Station, where regeneration is already underway in the form of a new surface car park, public toilets and ongoing multi-storey refurbishment, the old bus station is being pulled down, to be replaced by a brand new facility which will open this year. Meanwhile, the Town Hall office block and annex (and the Riverside House Office Block) are also being demolished to make way for a large new public square by the river, opening up the riverside to the town centre.

In his latest monthly column for the Times and Citizen newspaper, Mayor Dave Hodgson wrote about the projects and the benefits they will bring to the town centre. The full text of the column is below:

"Monday 27th January 2014 may seem an unremarkable date at first glance, but it's a big day for Bedford Town Centre. It sees work begin on two major regeneration schemes which will help revitalise the heart of Bedford.

The bus station is being demolished, with a brand new facility opening later in the year. This will bring to an end decades of dashed hopes for redevelopment of the site. Regeneration of the bus station area is already well underway, with a surface car park and new toilets completed, and refurbishment of the multi-storey continuing. The new bus station itself is the central feature of a project bringing vastly improved facilities and a gateway to our town we can actually take pride in.

We have waited too long for a new bus station for Bedford. That's why we have been determined to make this happen in defiance of the financial climate and other obstacles blocking regeneration. For more details of the project, including artists' impressions and bus departure points during construction, see www.Bedford.gov.uk/busstation

The Town Hall Office Block demolition also begins on Monday. The large grey office block is making way for a riverside public square for everyone to enjoy. This is also the first step in a regeneration scheme which sees town centre cinema reintroduced, new riverside restaurants, a footbridge over the river and more.

Town centres nationally face tough times, and their role has to change and encompass more than just retail to attract visitors. These major schemes will help achieve this for Bedford, alongside others such as the Higgins Bedford redevelopment and investment in High Street heritage buildings. They contribute to the shared vision for Bedford Town Centre's future: an attractive destination in its own right, where people of all ages can enjoy spending time and, of course, spending money in our local economy!

Dave Hodgson

Mayor of Bedford Borough"