As the festive season approaches, Bedford Borough Council is once again delighted to support the creation of a "Winter Wonderland" for local families and visitors to enjoy. Traditionally held at Everard Meadow, this year's enchanting event has found a new home in Bedford Park, providing a delightful setting for families to enjoy the seasonal festivities.
Unfortunately, due to planned works by the Environment Agency on the Lock in Mill Meadows, the event was compelled to find an alternative location for this year's celebration. The Environment Agency had planned to create a compound on the site for equipment, however this has since been delayed. The relocation to Bedford Park has brought an exciting addition to the Winter Wonderland experience, an authentic ice rink, something not possible in its previous site.
Regrettably, it is apparent that the local company overseeing the event did not submit a timely planning application for the new venue. Despite this, as the Planning Authority, the Council is obligated to evaluate the retrospective application and make a decision after the consultation period.
Public and technical consultations on the planning application are currently underway and will continue until Friday 8 December. A decision will be made after that date on whether to grant or refuse the planning application.
In the meantime, Bedford Borough Council is actively monitoring the impact of the Winter Wonderland event, taking steps to address any potential adverse effects. The safety and enjoyment of our residents remain a top priority, and measures will be implemented as needed to ensure a positive experience for all.
Moreover, as part of a commitment to preserving the beauty of Bedford Park, the Council assures residents that efforts will be made to restore the park to its former state after the conclusion of the Winter Wonderland event. This includes addressing any potential impact of vehicles, rides and footfall, to maintain the park's grassed areas.
Councillor Andrea Spice, Portfolio Holder for Town Centres and Planning, said, “As a Council, we want our residents to be able to enjoy this year’s Winter Wonderland as they have at previous events at Everald Meadow.
“We are disappointed that the correct timeframes for seeking planning permission were not complied with by the event organisers, but we will ensure that all of the usual processes are followed in determining the application that has now been made. Further to this, the grassed areas of the park will be returned to their former glory following the event”.
Visitors to this event, that plan to travel by car, are being directed to use the Queens Street Multi Storey Car Park by the event webpage. The first two hours of parking are free in this car park, and it is free to park all day on Sundays in all Council-owned town centre car parks.
The Council appreciates the community's understanding during this period and assures residents that every effort will be made to make this Winter Wonderland a magical and memorable experience for all. Find details of the event at https://winterwonderlandbedford.co.uk/.