A masterplan developed for residential property opportunity
Bedford’s regeneration has begun. It promises to transform Bedford town centre and its surrounding areas. There will be new developments providing homes, jobs, and retail, determined by the needs and opportunities set out in the Bedford Borough Local Plan 2035 and detailed in the Transforming Bedfordshire – One Public Estate programme. For property investors, this underscores the exciting opportunity and confirms that now is the time to invest in the heart of the new economic powerhouse.
Bedford town centre – a hotbed of residential development
In the last three years, Bedford town centre has seen almost half a million square feet of office space transformed into around 900 new residential apartments. Property developers are flocking here to meet the demand for homes, with land and property prices rising in response.
Bedford’s council is planning for the modernisation of the town centre, as visitor numbers rise strongly (according to Bedford Borough Council, footfall increased by 5% in 2017). Shopping centres are being upgraded. The Harpur Centre is benefitting from a multi-million-pound refurbishment.
Residential regeneration is likely to fan out from the centre, with many key locations along the river providing the ideal environment for redevelopment and repurposing.
What is Bedford’s masterplan?
Bedford is ideally located to take advantage of its position in the Oxford to Cambridge corridor, and will receive a new rail station as a key destination along the ‘brain belt expressway’.
The masterplan seeks to create new homes, attract businesses, and provide thousands of new jobs in a rapid growth economic area.
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Bedford’s £36 million Riverside Bedford development is a mixed-use project that has really given impetus to wider-scale regeneration, building on the following foundations:
· Accessibility of an attractive place to live and work
There will be new green spaces and public squares, as the public realm is prioritised to make Bedford town centre more accessible. There will be new connections into the town, and the environment will be improved for pedestrians.
· Celebration of heritage in a modernised environment
The potential of Bedford’s River Great Ouse will be exploited, whilst preserving the character shaped by Bedford’s history. Existing buildings will be repurposed to reflect the needs of a modern and vibrant society. New amenity spaces will provide for events, festivals, and leisure and recreation along the riverside.
· Improvement of public spaces
In addition to creating opportunities to provide new public spaces, the masterplan also sets out to enhance the existing. Road layouts, bridges and stations will be improved, bringing a fresh quality to a historic town.
· Making Bedford a place for business
There are many large employers in and around Bedford, and the council will identify new spaces to promote business and employment growth. Not only will this help to grow town centre employment, but also take advantage of the brain belt expressway and transport links into London.
· Providing homes for everyone
The masterplan will deliver new residential development to suit all tastes and all people, ranging from apartments to family homes. Several sites have already been identified as prime locations within a one-mile radius of the town centre. More sites will be found as the regeneration ripples out and prompt redevelopment and upgrading of district centres.
There are exciting times ahead for this historic town. It’s in a prime location, between Oxford and Cambridge, and with good road and rail links to the rest of the country. Large businesses are already recognising Bedford’s potential. We think it’s prime time for property investors to follow suit.
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