Following calls from Liberal Democrats to take action on the Debenhams building, the Council have decided to buy the property. Despite progress earlier in the year, activity had stalled since the Conservatives took over discussions with no action being taken for over six months. Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats have welcomed the decision and urge the Mayor to continue their work regenerating the town centre by bringing in more shops and restaurants.
Back in November, the Liberal Democrats called on the Conservatives to avoid any delays in the development of the site [Bedford Independent]. In March 2023, plans were progressing well, but on Thursday 2 November, after the Conservatives had been in power for almost sixth months but with news that there were no further public updates, the Liberal Democrats called for “urgency”.
Responding to news that the Council is purchasing the property, Councillor Christine McHugh said “Plans for the Town Centre were accelerating under the previous administration so it was worrying that more than six months on, the Tories had done so little.
“We of course welcome this decision as we have been calling for action from the Council to ensure that the opportunity to develop Mayes Yard and the surrounding area as part of a vibrant town centre and the possibility to secure more investment for the Town Centre wouldn’t be lost.
“The Mayor must now ensure that this development is well managed with mixed-use units including shops and restaurants, as well as residential.”