Business students talk to leaders about Bedford

Thursday 16 May 2013

Mayor of Bedford Dave Hodgson
Mayor of Bedford Dave Hodgson talked to business students at Bedford College about the challenges facing his council and work taking place to drive up economic growth in the area.
In Bedford the council runs the iLab for start-up and developing companies, the iKan hot-desking in Mill Street and iCreate in Midland Road for the arts industry. This and supporting large employers who choose to locate in Bedford Borough, was critical to growth.
More houses are needed and with that would come an expansion of employment opportunities in the construction industry. This was part of a regional plan.

The Mayor also talked about the town centre, the long standing idea of a river bridge between Bedford College and Borough Hall, and how a footbridge to Riverside North could be complete early next year. Footfall and visitors to the town centre are vital – but only if matched by spending.

Making Bedford a destination town and making people stay and spend for longer was critical and more needed to be made of visitors to huge events like the Bedford River Festival, the annual regatta and regular national events at the Athletic Stadium.
He was thanked by the students and Deputy Chief Executive of Bedford College Dave Pridmore for attending.
Director of the Bedford BID Christina Rowe* Director of the Bedford Business Improvement (BID) District Christina Rowe had earlier in that week met
with business students at Bedford College, this time in a classroom session.
They discussed the challenges facing modern town centres such as Bedford in the face of on-line shopping, out of town retail parks and giant complexes like Milton Keynes.
Christina, who comes from a background in retail centre marketing and management said the answer for Bedford was about something other than retail – making the town a day trip destination for those who wanted to enjoy the location, independent shops and a lovely lunch.
The students also learned about how Bedford came to be a Portas Pilot town and the work going among High Street business owners and community and consumer groups and the council  to bring in more people into Bedford.