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Strategies, Plans and Research

 Bedford Borough Empty Shops Strategy and Information Pack 2014

IP Front CoverThe UK’s town centres are changing. The number of empty retail units in town centre locations around the country has grown in recent years.  In Bedford we recognise that empty shops require fresh ideas and provide an opportunity for people to try something new. The development of this strategy is timely as not only is there a national move to redefine the town centre in the UK but we are also seeing Bedford play host to a number of exciting, innovative grassroots initiatives. 

This strategy and supporting action plan is intended to identify and promote different collaborative approaches.  The pack aims to give you a starting point for investigating the permanent or temporary uses of empty commercial spaces. It is designed for people who may have an idea for an empty shop but don’t know where to start and for landlords considering different ways of filling their properties.


If you would like to view or download the Empty Shops Strategy, please click here.

If you would like to view or download the Empty Shops Information Pack, please click here.

Bedford Borough Economic Development Strategy 2011-2014

Economic Development Strategy Consultation - cover

Bedford Borough Council has led on the development of an Economic Development Strategy on behalf of its Partners for the period 2011-14.  Approval to the document was given at the Council's Executive Committee of 16th March 2011. 

Aligned with the Sustainable Community Strategy, the Strategy provides clarity for the Borough in respect of a local economic vision and includes priorities for stimulating business and enterprise growth, increasing economic participation and priority interventions.

It has been shaped following consultation activity with business and residents and draws on a significant evidence base, including the recent Local  Economic Assessment. 

If you would like to view or download the Strategy, please visit  the Bedford Borough Economic Development Strategy 2011-2014 page. 

Bedford Borough Local Economic Assessment 2010

LEA front cover 2 with border

2010 Local Economic Assessment for Bedford  (pdf opens in new window) 
A review of Bedford’s economy, highlighting key findings and issues, which will help the Council and its partners deliver the right economic development support for Bedford.


To download or view the individual chapters of the Report please visit the 2010 Local Economic Assessment for Bedford page


 Bedford Waterspace Study : August 2011

Bedford Waterspace Study cover August 2011The Bedford Waterspace Study focuses on all aspects of the river corridor and presents a vision for the town’s development and regeneration as an important waterways destination.

The study, commissioned by Bedford Borough Council and the Environment Agency brings together a broad range of ideas on how the River Great Ouse could be used by an even wider range of people.  It is intended to provide interested parties with a better knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and challenges along the river to help shape its future development.

The study was brought together by Richard Glen Associates on behalf of Bedford Borough Council and the Environment Agency. It covers the River Great Ouse from Old Bromham Bridge downstream, to the junction of the Bedford Milton Keynes Waterway link in the vicinity of Kempston Weir, and eastwards through Bedford town centre to Willington Lock.

To view and download the full Study document and the Economic Impact & Opportunities Study please visit the Bedford Waterspace Study 2011 page.

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The Business section gives you advice and help on what you need to know about owning and running a business in the borough. Information includes business rates, health and safety, street trading licences and more.

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