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Mayor Dave Writes: Parking Charge Freeze Just One of Many Reasons to Visit and Enjoy Bedford Town Centre

April 28, 2018 9:15 AM

St Mary's Car Park in Bedford, During ConstructionWriting in his April column for the Bedfordshire Midweek, Mayor Dave Hodgson looked at the range of measures designed to make parking in Bedford Town Centre cheaper, safer and more convenient, including the freeze in annual charges, the new surface car park opening this summer (pictured) and investment in additional CCTV.

Here's the full piece:

2017 saw footfall in Bedford town centre rise for the fourth year in a row. This extended period of footfall growth has coincided with the introduction of our free parking deal. This includes two hours' free on Saturdays in council-run Bedford town centre car parks and a range of other free parking offers.

We've also frozen parking charges once again this year, keeping the real cost down despite inflation. Of course, parking is just one factor in footfall growth amongst others such as public transport and the range and quality of shops and services. Bedford has a particular strength in the high number and high quality of its independent traders.

But parking itself is not just about price. It also needs to be convenient, and to that end we are building a brand new public car park on the south side of the river in the town centre. Just a short walk over the new pedestrian bridge from Riverside Bedford, when this new facility opens this summer it will mean more town centre parking spaces and another option for visitors.

It will also provide a new alternative for people travelling from the south which doesn't require them to cross the river and add to the traffic in the town centre. Plus, it will be welcomed by those who prefer 'surface' car parks to multi storeys.

Meanwhile, a number of those multi-storeys are benefitting from enhanced security via 124 new CCTV cameras we have installed. The new cameras are positioned in various areas from the roof, to the stairwells, by the lifts and more. All to deter and prevent crime and to help ensure people feel safe and confident at all times when parking in Bedford.

With this parking offer and so many excellent independent shops and restaurants, there really is every reason to visit and enjoy Bedford town centre!

Mayor Dave Hodgson