About Bedford

Bedford Borough encompasses 476 sq. kilometres in the northern half of Bedfordshire and includes the main towns of Bedford and Kempston. Bedford Borough Council became a unitary authority in April 2009, alongside Central Bedfordshire (Luton Borough Council, part of the former Bedfordshire County Council, became a unitary authority in 1997).

Bedford Borough is home to just over 173,000 citizens, living in 75,650 households, and around two-thirds of our population live in the urban areas of Bedford and Kempston. Situated between Birmingham and London it has the advantage of close proximity to both the M1 and the A1, and has excellent transport links.

Bedford is a very diverse borough: in the 2011 census, 28.5% of its population was from a black or minority ethnic community. While Bedford Borough is in the mid-range on overall deprivation, ranking 150 out of 317 local authorities in 2019, there are areas of significant deprivation within the borough, particularly in the urban centres of Bedford and Kempston.

The town itself straddles the River Great Ouse and was the home (and prison) of John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress. There is a university, hospital and an extensive range of sporting, recreational and leisure amenities. Our sporting heritage is significant, with well-established rugby, football and rowing clubs. There are also numerous retail opportunities available with both in and out of town.

Rail connectivity is important to the economic growth of the borough, and recent studies have identified rail as a key consideration for business investment. The town is already served by two Midland main line stations, with both Thameslink and East Midlands Trains operating services to London St Pancras in about 35 minutes. The planned East West Rail line between Oxford and Cambridge, stopping in Bedford, is projected to provide £10m per year to the economy and create 220 new jobs. Bedford’s also conveniently located by road, with the A421, A428 and the A6 providing good north-south and east-west connections to other regional centres (A1 and M1 each about 20 minutes distant). Bedford is situated 18 miles from London Luton Airport.

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