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Phase Two of High Street Improvement Works Set to Begin

20 July 2021

Since February 2021, Bedford Borough Council have been delivering high quality regeneration works to Bedford High Street in order to permanently make it one lane only for traffic and create more space for shoppers and pedestrians.

Phase one of these works, which ran from St Peters Street to Mill Street are now complete and the Council plans to begin phase two on Monday 26 July, with traffic calming measures being put in place the night before. The second phase of works will stretch from Mill Street down to St Paul’s Square and is planned to last until November 2021.

As part of these works, the Council will be making the pavement wider and repaving the section of the high street with high-quality York paving and granite kerbstones. Speed cameras will be installed along the road to enforce the 20mph speed limit on Bedford High Street.

Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford Borough, said: “Phase one of the improvement works was a great success and after visiting the site last week, we’re really looking forward to the second phase beginning. By making the high street one lane, we’re improving access to our High Street businesses and providing opportunities for them to make greater use of the space outside their premises. This unprecedented investment in our High Street will make it a nicer place for residents and visitors to the town centre to shop, dine out and relax. It will also help to improve air quality and reduce noise pollution on the High Street.

“Through the Transporting Bedford programme, we plan to reduce congestion on some of the other pinch points across our road network, which will help to alleviate the pressures of making the High Street one lane only.

“Businesses on our High Street will still be accessible while the works are ongoing and a signed diversion will be in place.”

Judith Barker, Director of Programmes and Governance, added: “Bedford Town Centre not only offers a wealth of history and character, it’s also a key location for people to come together to shop, catch up and connect. The Transporting Bedford programme will enhance these spaces enabling greater movement and space in the centre of the town. After visiting the works with the Mayor, I’m even more excited about the opportunities phase two of the improvements will unlock.”

Christina Rowe, Director of Bedford BID, said: “The improvements to High Street are a welcomed part of the changes happening to Bedford town centre, changes that are welcome from both businesses and visitors who appreciate that the work is necessary to help bring a ‘new’ future to Bedford.

“Whilst more accurate details will evolve over the coming months as they unfold, it is clear that this is an exciting period for the town which will not only benefit the trading environment of existing businesses but will nurture future patronage.”

The works are part of the Council’s “Transporting Bedford” programme, an £18M project to tackle congestion hotspots in Bedford, funded by both Bedford Borough Council and £15.5M funding from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), through the Local Growth Fund. It has also helped secure an additional £1.76 million worth of investment from Historic England, backed by SEMLEP and Bedford BID, which will help improve shop fronts and bring unused spaces back into use.

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