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Accessible environments

We are committed to promoting equality of access to places within in Bedford Borough for everyone in our community. This includes making our facilities accessible for people with disabilities, elderly people, and those with young children.

To achieve this, when we receive planning applications for development of land and/or buildings we will use our planning and building control powers to encourage inclusive design in all new developments so as to achieve ‘access for all’.

Inclusive design 

Applications for development of and, where practicable and reasonable, the change of use or alterations to buildings open to the public, and buildings used for employment or education purposes, will normally be required to provide suitable access and facilities for disabled people, including those with sensory impairments.

Housing mix

We work with developers to encourage them to increase the choice of housing available to people with disabilities and elderly people. 

Access improvement grants

Owners and occupiers, including voluntary organisations, of these types of building are eligible for an Access Improvement Grant:

  • Small independent shops
  • Community halls
  • Village halls
  • Places of worship
  • Museums
  • Entertainment and leisure venues
  • Hotels

Eligible works include:

  • Ramps or level entrances and exits
  • Wider doorways and corridors
  • Wheelchair-accessible lifts
  • Handrails on steps and stairs
  • Toilets for wheelchair-users
  • Car parking spaces designated for Blue Badge holders
  • Signs and other facilities to help people with impaired sight
  • Communication aids for hearing-impaired people
  • Any facilities which, in the Council's opinion, will improve access

Grants may be awarded up to 50% of the cost of the eligible works, up to a maximum of £1,000. The Council has the power to recover all or part of the grant if the applicant's interest, or any part of that interest, if the building is sold, exchanged or leased within three years of the date of the final payment of the grant to the applicant or if the applicant fails to maintain the improvement works to the Council's satisfaction.

Access Improvement Grant Application Form and Guidance Notes (PDF)

For more information, contact the Council’s Disability Equality and Access Officer.

Accessibility Bedford 

The Accessibility Bedford Group is an independent voluntary group of people with disabilities, carers and others with an interest in promoting good accessibility to buildings and services.

Bedford Borough Council values the work of Bedford and District Access Group and the importance of regular consultation with it, and other groups, representing the interests of people with disabilities.

Disability Equality and Access Officer

The Council's Disability Equality and Access Officer is responsible for:

  • promoting equality of access to a convenient and accessible environment for all the community
  • providing guidance to the Council and its operational managers on the impact of disability legislation on the delivery of their services

Contact this Officer at:

Bedford Borough Council
4th Floor
Borough Hall
Caldwell Street
Bedford
MK42 9AP

01234 718565  (textphone 01234 718828)