'Our town needs more to keep people entertained' - Biggleswade residents respond to announcement of regeneration survey

PUBLISHED: 09:38 30 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:38 30 May 2017

Biggleswade town centre.

Biggleswade town centre.

Danny Loo Photography 2017

More independent shops, more entertainment and more parking is needed to revitalise Biggleswade town centre - according to people living in the town.

Central Beds council has contracted the Mosaic Partnership – a consultancy with specialist expertise in town centre regeneration – to look at ways to ‘improve the health’ of the town at a cost of £14,450.

It aims to ‘improve the visitor experience, boost jobs and increase footfall to shops and business’.

When the Comet posted the story online, the consensus from the many people who commented was that the town needs more independent shops and restaurants and more to entertain people.

One shop owner commented: “As a small business owner in town, I do feel the town needs more independent shops but the rent in the high street is so high, that’s why I set up down this road. People seem to forget about Hitchin Street and what we have to offer down here.

Jamie Creapase wrote: “What the town desperately needs is entertainment opportunities like a cinema, and more options for eating out.

Terrie Brown said: “We need to take it back to being a good market town – local businesses that offer something unique, and different to the retail park.

“But more than anything local people MUST support it. How many business have we heard closing down because there isn’t any support?”

Joanna Mayes posted: “Something for young people to do would be good, there is nothing at the moment that a young person can do.

“The only thing they can do is structured like a youth club and some young people just want somewhere they can go with their friends where they are not being watched by adults.”

The consultancy will involve interviewing businesses and residents in the town about their views and was called for by members of Biggleswade Town Council and Central Beds Council through a joint working committee. Some though have questioned why a consultation needs to be held when the problems facing the town are already clear.

One Comet reader commented: “I’m confused why they need to pay for a consulting team to tell them they need better parking and public transport to and from the town centre.

“It doesn’t matter how many shops arrive in the town, if no-one can get to them from the new houses they’ll soon close anyway.”

Councillor David Lawrence – who represents Biggleswade South on Central Beds Council – said he welcomed the plan, but that local councillors should have been consulted more about it first.

Another reader said the plan was too little too late, writing: “This is what’s known as shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. It should have been done in parallel with all the new housing being built.”

Town centre businesses interested in contributing to the commercialplan can contact the council’s project manager Sam Caldbeck by emailing samuel.caldbeck@centralbedfordshire.gov

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