Issues and Options
2. Setting the scene
By the end of the plan period:
The borough will have become a greener, more sustainable and more attractive place to live. Tackling climate change and adapting to and mitigating against its effects will be at the heart of new development throughout the borough including facilitating sustainable food production.
Well-planned growth avoiding areas of high flood risk will support the creation of strong, safe and sustainable local communities in environments that facilitate healthy and independent living for all. Sustainable development and transport, the use of sustainable and renewable energy technology, green infrastructure and new green spaces will all contribute to reducing the borough's carbon footprint and securing a net-gain in biodiversity.
The development of East-West Rail through Bedford will be complete. Bedford will benefit from a new town centre transport interchange including links to Oxford and Cambridge, increasing connectivity, investment and growth. Local development will be well served by transport links and speedy internet access integrated into the planning process and completed before residents move in. Bedford borough will continue to attract new business through the completion of significant infrastructure projects, in and close to the borough and through the development of high quality commercial and office spaces. Greater connectivity will have a positive impact on the local economy attracting high tech employment sectors, creative industries and supporting existing retail centres.
In Bedford's town centre a wide range of uses will provide greater variety and a broader visitor experience that will make the town centre more diverse and sustainable. Improvements to the High Street will turn it into a place to enjoy, where niche retailers predominate and people choose to linger. The development of previously planned vibrant new town neighbourhoods will be complete, widening housing choices, improving quality of life for Bedford residents and transforming sites on the western side of the town and south of the river. Increased town centre living will encourage sustainable methods of travel, increasing the vitality and viability of the town centre and support for local businesses. The town centre will be used increasingly as a community space, accessible to residents in the town, the borough and beyond.
Good design will help to create safer, vibrant and more sustainable neighbourhoods, both in the urban area of Bedford and Kempston and in the surrounding village communities. This will include school places, health facilities, community halls, green spaces and other services. The borough's built heritage and wider historic environment will continue to be respected, protected and valued.
The borough's countryside, its intrinsic character and beauty including areas of tranquil retreat will be recognised. Rural communities will embrace sensitive development through neighbourhood plans that provide and support much needed housing and employment, rural facilities and services, including public transport. Locally important green spaces and valued local landscapes will be protected and enjoyed by all.
Whilst the Embankment and formal Victorian parks will continue to be seen as the jewels in Bedford's crown, there will be new multifunctional green spaces to complement the existing network of paths and green corridors, linking these together in a ribbon of protected green and blue space available to all. Country parks north of Brickhill, west of Bedford and in the new town centre neighbourhoods will have matured. The Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park will provide a new strategic green and blue corridor, linking Bedford with Milton Keynes to the west and the wider network to the east, encouraging healthy lifestyles, tourism, river transport and a rich ecology.
The Forest of Marston Vale will continue to grow and mature, transforming the landscape. Together with the completed Bedford River Valley Park this part of the borough will be transformed through new leisure opportunities, encouraging increased visitor numbers. The development at Stewartby Brickworks will be complete, forming a new community on the old brickmaking site, celebrating its heritage.
Do you have any comments on the draft vision? If you think that it can be improved, please tell us how.