Bedford Borough Council’s Growth Plan 2016- 2020 focuses on five key themes that will help the area grow and prosper in the coming years:
- Supporting growth of start-up and existing businesses;
- Attracting new business to the borough;
- Faster development of employment sites;
- Promoting the vitality of Bedford’s town centre;
- Supporting local people into local jobs.
Encouraging businesses to remain in and grow or to relocate to Bedford is key to the plan, creating new jobs and increasing the income from business rates.
Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson (pictured) said: “Taking a strategic approach to supporting economic growth locally is crucial. Bedford Borough is a fantastic place to do business and improving our economy is a top priority.”
Demand-led skills development, closer relationships between education providers and business, as well as promoting apprenticeship opportunities, are also identified as important focus areas.
The plan also highlights priority projects and programmes, including the completion of the Bedford Western Bypass and Riverside North development, achieving superfast broadband coverage across the borough, the Marston Vale Innovation and Business Park planned near Wootton, the East-West rail link and the development of the Fairhill employment site at the northern end of the new bypass.
Town centre projects include further improvements to the buildings on the High Street to attract new businesses and investment in the road network.
Two major development schemes are under way at Riverside North and the Apex Site near Priory Business Park, with more in the pipeline with planning approval. Significant new investment has also come in retail.
Mr Hodgson said: “Now is the time for us to capitalise on the real infrastructure improvements that have been delivered and those coming through, like the Bedford Western Bypass, as we work to attract more businesses and employment to our borough.”
Consultation on the Growth Plan ends on May 31. Visit www.bedford.gov.uk/growthplan