A central town at the heart of British regeneration
There are plenty of reasons Bedford should be on your radar for property investment.
Firstly, It’s location is truly excellent, with London St. Pancras reachable in only 33 minutes by train. Great news for City workers priced out of the capital. Bedford is an expanding area seeing large scale investment into its growth. In 2013, Bedford Borough Council announced its Growth Plan for stimulating economic growth in and its intentions to deliver 17,570 new homes and 16,000 new jobs by 2021.
This medieval market town sits astride the River Great Ouse and is nestled between the picturesque university towns of Cambridge and Oxford.
The ancient Saxon settlement saw much fighting in the middle-ages as it was a boundary town separating Wessex from Danish rule. It has the remains of a castle on the banks of the river which is a reminder of the kings that fought on its soil.
This rich history has been celebrated by the creation, in 2013, of an open-air archaeology park called Castle Bailey Gardens, a restored the ancient monument, and the refurbished Museum and Art Galleries.
The charm of Bedford’s ancestors also lingers on in a medieval church in the town centre, St Paul’s, and the 19th Century Bedford Bridge which is illuminated at night.
Regeneration will certainly vivify this historic town, and the Council hopes to achieve its plans of delivering 17,570 new home and 16,000 new jobs by 2021 through several significant projects.
Delivering superfast broadband across Bedford Borough is one of these investments. The Council hopes this will help improve job growth in more rural areas.
By August 2016, the first phase of the project, costing around £6.64 million, had provided around 90% coverage (or 16,422 homes) in central Bedfordshire. Phase Two will see superfast broadband delivered to another 8,000 homes and businesses, bringing fibre coverage to 96.5% by mid-2018.
Electrifying the Midland Mainline will improve infrastructure and connections. The work will include completely electrifying the line, altering or rebuilding bridges and tunnels, remodelling stations and carrying out line speed improvements. The part of the line servicing Bedford is expected to complete by 2021.
The East-West Rail link will improve transport links and establish a strategic railway connecting East Anglia with Central, Southern and Western England.
The Western section will connect Bedford to Reading via Oxford, and work will be constructed here on existing routes as part of Phase Two. The Western Section is due to open in 2019.
In 2015, Rail Expertise Ltd forecast the economic benefits of the Western section of East West Rail to be:
- £135m increase to GDP in the South West per annum
- £62m additional tax receipts per annum
- £2.13m+ national GVA impacts over 30 years
Other ways to improve growth will include developing a business rate policy to encourage business growth; reduce time, cost and uncertainty with planning applications; and facilitate and promote job growth.
Now really is an exciting time to invest in this area to make sure to benefit from the expected growth. Download the Property Investment Guide today!
Economy & Employment
Bedford sits on the ‘Golden Triangle’ of top universities between Oxford and Cambridge and near London. It has access to 50,000 students within 20 miles, half of Britain’s universities and 60% of the UK’s research and development fund.
In state of the art Innovation Centres companies like Unilever, are creating foods of the future, inventing new medical devices and testing new forms of travel.
The large plots available for business use draw corporate giants that require warehousing solutions such as ASDA Distribution, Movianto & Argos Distribution. It is also home to Charles Wells the largest brewery in the UK.
With strong business start-up performance, and great central location, it’s no wonder growth in jobs in Bedford is significantly above the national rate.
That’s why companies are flocking to join the ranks of 3M and Fujifilm who already use the area resources to grow their businesses.
Bedford Council has invested heavily into regeneration projects over the last few years. A redevelopment of the high street was completed in December 2016.
The project, worth £5m was funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund, Bedford Borough Council and Bedford BID and contributions from contributions from landlords and owners of businesses on the high street.
The multi-million-pound development Riverside North is set to complete in April or May 2017. Located on the river Great Ouse, it will contain 58 apartments, a seven-screen cinema, a 100-bedroom hotel and restaurants such as ZiZi and Chimichanga.
The area will firmly establish riverside cafe culture and al fresco dining in the heart of Bedford.
The Council announced its Growth Plan for stimulating economic growth in 2013 and hopes to deliver 17,570 new homes and 16,000 new jobs by 2021.
Air: Great for access to Luton Airport, just 15 minutes away offering flights to 100 international destinations. There is also a direct rail link to London Gatwick airport.
Rail: The Midland main line has direct links into the East Midlands and reaches London St Pancras in 33 minutes. The East-West Rail link connecting Bedford to Reading via Oxford is scheduled to open in 2019. The Midline Mainline will also be electrified and improved. The part of the line servicing Bedford is expected to complete by 2021.
Road: Conveniently placed for the M1 motorway with access to London and the North. The A421 dual carriageway link road between the M1 and A1 has recently been completed.
Bus: A direct service connects Cambridge in the east with Oxford in the west. The service connects with the Milton Keynes Coachway with links to towns and cities across the UK.
Schools: 25 primary, 14 secondary and seven independent.
Notable institutions include:
- Bedford Girls’ School and Bedford Modern School, for boys and girls aged seven to 18
- Bedford College, with 16,000 students, rated an ‘Outstanding’ centre of excellence in five disciplines by OFSTED
Higher education: Facilities include the University of Bedfordshire and Cranfield University. Their world-class research specialisms include aerospace, automotive, bioscience, energy, environment, manufacturing, security and defence.
Bedford sits perfectly between some of the world’s best universities. Oxford, Cambridge and London institutions such as King’s College and LSE are within easy reach via the substantial transport network.
Shops & Leisure
Shopping: The new Riverside North development will enhance existing shopping and entertainment facilities, with many major brands opening in the area, a new cinema, restaurants, bars and shops.
Bedford is a market town with traditions dating back more than 850 years. St Paul’s Square has been the setting of a market since the 1500s, and regular events are held where vendors sell various items, including greeting cards, fresh produce, flowers and household goods and handmade items.
Leisure: Bedford is home to a number of museums – including The Higgins Bedford, the John Bunyan Museum and the Panacea Museum – and art galleries.
Green space: As well as a number of urban spaces an ambitious project is underway to convert the floodplain of the River Great Ouse to a riverside park.
Bedford’s River Valley Park will cover more than 3.5 sq. miles, three times the size of Central Park. It will provide facilities for lake swimming, water sports, riding, with live music venues and eateries. The started in 2009 and is expected to take 20 years to complete.