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Happy New Year!

January 1, 2019 11:50 AM

Dave Hodgson with river behindMayor Dave Hodgson has wished a very Happy New Year to all.

Writing in his latest email update, Mayor Dave offered his best wishes to all for 2019, and also looked ahead at some of the major projects for which 2019 will be a very important year.

You can sign up to receive regular email updates here, and in the meantime here's what Mayor Dave had to say in his email today:

"I want to you a very Happy New Year. I hope you and your loved ones had a very enjoyable and peaceful Christmas, and are looking forward to the year ahead.

It's certainly a big year for Bedford Borough in many respects. We will be making progress on a number of schemes in our congestion-busting Transporting Bedford 2020 Programme, which you can read more about here.

It's an important year for other major transport projects too, such as:

  • The Oxford to Cambridge Expressway section east of the Black Cat roundabout which will finally separate the A421/8 from the A1 and dual the full route from Bedford to Cambridge. Details of the route option are due in the Spring, and I'll keep pushing for progress on a scheme that the government has already delayed for too long.
  • East West Rail, with consultation on the Central Section from Bedford to Cambridge coming soon. We'll be pressing for a route that serves Bedford itself, to maximise the benefits for local residents.
  • We'll be seeking to press forward with our plans to step in to deliver Wixams railway station, in the absence of government action on this to date.
  • The new East Midlands rail franchisee is due to be announced shortly. I've been engaging with the bidders to encourage the strongest possible service for Bedford, despite a disappointing specification issued by the Government.

So there's a lot to fight for, including fairness for Bedford rail users who've been so sorely let down by the Government and train operators. You can sign and share our freeze fares petition at www.bedfordlibdems.org.uk/freezefares

Beyond transport infrastructure, numerous big employment sites are taking shape to the north of Wixams, Cambridge Road in Bedford, Bedford Commercial Park in Wootton, Bedford Link west of Kempston and more. Together these will create thousands of new jobs, and many opportunities are likely to be advertised via our Jobs Hub

We also know there will be some big challenges ahead. These include Network Rail's closure of Bromham Road Bridge to traffic later in the year while they replace it in order to electrify the railway line. We'll be working to minimise the inevitable disruption this will cause.

All this is in the context of another cut in the Council's funding from Government, which confirms that despite the spin, austerity is most definitely not over for local services.

Whatever you're looking forward to in the year ahead, I hope it's a very happy one for you and your loved ones.

Happy New Year!