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New schemes to ‘accelerate’ Bedford town centre regeneration

August 5, 2020 8:30 AM
Originally published by Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats

Henry VannA list of potential schemes to be delivered using 'Town Deal Acccelerator' funding includes projects to enhance sustainable transport, event infrastructure and the street scene in Bedford town centre.

The schemes form a working list which is shaped by the fact that the criteria for accessing this government funding is extremely restrictive, including a requirement for projects to be "shovel ready" - in other words deliverable by March 2021, just a matter of months away.

The final list of capital investment schemes must be submitted to Government by August 14th, and schemes may be removed or added as detailed work continues.

The current shortlisted schemes included a project to improve cycling facilities, enhance event infrastructure and make changes to create more open space in Silver Square, where Silver Street joins the High Street.

Bedford Borough Council Town Centres Portfolio Holder Councillor Henry Vann said "Despite the restrictive timetable from Central Government to access this grant, we have projects ready to go in the Town Centre and we wanted to share this developing list in advance. The final schemes may change based on deliverability within the very tight timescale but this is a great oppourtunity to deliver real improvemetns to Bedford town centre, continuing to improve our environment and drive forward investment."

The current list of schemes under consideration for the Town Deal Accelerator Fund is as follows:

· Cycle Enhancements: This project aims to improve and encourage cycling to the town centre by improving cycle links and providing secure parking.

· Silver Street Square: This would involve removing planters and street furniture to create an open space for performances and encourage cafe culture to encourage businesses to open. The design would match the works to be delivered via the High Street Heritage Action Zone and Transporting Bedford projects.

· Event Infrastructure Enhancements: Installation of additional electricity points to enable the greater use of public squares in the town centre for performances.