Renovate Aspects Leisure Centre!!

Relics of the old Zapp Zone still hang in the windows of this abandoned unit for over 25 years now. Although it almost became an extra cinema screen, its time to do something with these empty units. The perfect solution is to create a community lifestyle hub. The zapp zone unit would make a great healthy options cafe, with outdoor terrace. and the empty unit opposite could home a studio for all kinds of activities and conferences. Complemented by the existing Fitness First Gym just further down.

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67 comments on “Renovate Aspects Leisure Centre!!

  1. School run and peak time traffic clogs Bedfords roads. If there are roadworks on any single road in the centre of town, it has a huge knock on effect across the rest of town.
    If we were to have proper investment in effective cycle paths, we could take our children to school by bicycle and not have to use the car. This would help the environment, improve children’s health and get more people out of their cars. We have an opportunity to follow the lead of cities like Copenhagen or Amsterdam where cycling everywhere is the norm. We should take this opportunity to lead the way in the uk and have a well thought through set of cycle paths that are safe to use as part of our daily routines.

      1. Absolutely, an extremely worthy spend and investment into future generations in improving their health and the environment. We have to be proactive now more than ever especially in reducing car journeys and encouraging people to cycle.

  2. I really feel investing in Bedford to make it more attractive will bring more people to the centre to do more shopping but it will also encourage browsing/window shopping/people having a coffee/eating out.

    Doing this by planting more, encouraging shops to improve their frontages, benches, trees, murals, clearing rubbish and graffiti, encouraging cafes to have outdoor eating areas, a play area for children, picnic benches, bunting, signage, improve the appearance of the market, get rid of cheap looking stalls and make the awnings all the same and cohesive. Look to towns such as Hitchin, St Albans, Harpenden, see what they have done and try and replicate some of that in our town. Why are people allowed to drink outside the vodka place on the high street?! It doesn’t give the right impression of the town.

    An indoor market or community hub would be great. A play zone for children. Trying to stop the congregation of people drinking and anti social behaviour in the town centre but also at the very end of Depary’s where the public toilets are before the high street.

    Encourage pop up shops, or food trucks and pop up restaurants. Have a campaign to get good buskers and musicians in the town centre – run a competition and see who you can bring in to the town- look at Leeds city centre lots of cool buskers.

  3. Planning application 19/01624/MAF on Bedford borough website. 128 residential flats (total) in 4 blocks, external changes to the existing leisure park buildings including re-cladding, demolition and rebuild of unit B to form 2 restaurants, public realm alterations, site-wide provision of areas of open space (comprising amenity open space.

  4. I personally think that having social clubs with fixed activities ( money management lessons, fitness, life skills they don’t get at school and unfortunately for some at home) for kids in several areas is a great idea. However I do feel that mental health has been forgotten about in Bedford. There needs to be something put in place to help people. Maybe group CBT sessions or workshops for adults and children alike. If we can help children young they may not need the support years from now as they have already been given the tools to cope rather than watching them fall apart and then trying to find the tools to help over a few months if there is an appointment!
    Prevention is better than cure!

    1. Good to provide more social and leisure opportunities.
      The comment around “homeless and potholes” is laughable. Ignore that one.

  5. I think it should be turned into an ice rink or roller skating rink to give the children and familys something fun they can do together

  6. I love the new Riverside North development but it’s a shame that so many units are empty. The council always seem to think the answer is to build new developments rather than regenerate existing areas so please don’t make this mistake again!
    We have some amazing individual shops in the town but they are all scattered around the periphery of the town. With the way the retail world is going I’d like to see more of these encouraged to relocate to the empty units in town. Make the CBD smaller and focus effort around there to make it a more appealing place to visit.

  7. Train station requires a multi story carpark. There simply are not enough parking spaces to address the new homes being built in the area.

    1. Couldn’t agree more, you can’t park after 7.30am. Not sure why we can’t have a multi storey car park like so many other areas.

  8. We need an indoor ice rink there isn’t one near by including MK so a great way to have something to drive people into Bedford for and will have a ripple effect on other business… as it can host an eatery.

  9. In no particular order, just my thoughts:

    1) Sort out the transport. We wasted millions on a bus station, and the busses don’t even go to the train station, you have to walk for 10 minutes from the station, and the busses are only 1 or 2 an hour and cost a fortune.

    2) Bring back the fast trains. Now we have only one train provider, and they’re slow and stop everywhere and I never get a seat.

    3) Proper fibre optic broadband, not fake “fibre” which is really copper DSL / Virgin Media

    4) More money for education. A university that doesn’t offer useless degrees, more school places and better funding for existing schools.

    5) Some police officers.

    6) More cycle paths and better roads not filled with potholes and with lane markings you can actually see

    7) A technology hub, or somewhere with good jobs for people with tech skills. There are zero jobs for people with tech skills in the town.

    8) Flood defences

    1. I agree with all these suggestions and hope that some serious thought could be given to these.
      My one other observation would be to build a multi storey car park on the Brittania Road car park, along with a lift(big enough for mobility scooters) and a bridge over Brittania Road connecting with Bedford hospital. As the County town of Bedfordshire. I am always disappointed at the level of investment given to our hospital. We deserve a state of the art hospital, catering for all the diverse requirements of our ever growing community.

    1. Planning application 19/01624/MAF on Bedford borough website. 128 residential flats (total) in 4 blocks, external changes to the existing leisure park buildings including re-cladding, demolition and rebuild of unit B to form 2 restaurants, public realm alterations, site-wide provision of areas of open space (comprising amenity open space.

    2. Not an ice rink!!! Not an ice rink..

      How about a music venue, a club, a gym, food places where people can relax and enjoy themselvez.

  10. There is a shocking lack of services for all the young adults suffering from depression and other mental health problems. The whole country is in crisis. We need more services for them not clinical or doctors rooms but safe uplifting spaces where they can relax talk and recharge. It’s well known that exercise and lovely surroundings help. Sorry but I always found Aspects very depressing myself. Please do not waste all this money on another eyesore our poor kids need more than that. We’ve a lovely river what about a space near there or that building near Robinson pool. I’d guess that nearly half our kids or more have faced depression which can lead to much worse and lifelong problems. It can happen to anyone and that is why a lot of them end up on the street. So please don’t waste the money on services for others invest it to help our young adults. They are having a tough time and the world isn’t a great place for them at present. Unemployment, the pandemic virus, climate change and most of them may never own their own home it would make anyone depressed. Spend the money on them. Kids are ok most of them but once they reach 16 plus a lot of our youngsters have a fairly bleak future so they get involved in the drug gangs leading to knife crime drug addiction and sadly sometimes suicide the biggest killer in young adults especially young men. So for the sake of our young people who are the future of our town please invest the money in them and not passing buildings that will fall down one day……

  11. We need to have a closer look at the bigger problems like education, health care, retirement homes and road works before we start building things like bowling ally’s and play areas those things are a luxury that isn’t needed. I also believe we should have more youth centers located around kempston, Putnoe and Queen’s Park, helping and providing a safe place for kids and keeping them off the streets from getting hurt/ hurting people with knives.

    1. Totally agree. I was thinking somewhere nice near the river where they could go meet with a cafe computers please read my reply

  12. Leisure facilities for deffinate! Bowling/climbing wall/trampolining rather than having to go elsewhere to entertain my toddler. The whole of ampthill road needs resurfacing from top to bottom rather than patching lot holes up! Town centre shops need help to survive too!

  13. the town centre needs sorting. no more cafes, estate agents or things like the American candy shop. just a waste of space. roads and buses need sorting. try to get a bus can have to wait up to 45mins for a service that is supposed to run every 12mins, so I have to leave home a good hour before if I have an appointment. not everyone buys clothes online we need a better choice in clothes shops for older people. it will go no deaf ears but I have said my bit.

  14. Invest in youth facilities, education and infrastructure. Bedford traffic is really bad. Have no faith in current works and how they will improve traffic.
    Bedford is a car park. Needs a radical overhaul. Doubt the extra filter lanes will have much impact as we keep installing more traffic lights. We have way too many traffic lights meaning cars have to stop start every 100m. Bad for the environment. Implement a system where traffic flows better. Vehicle owners have to pay road tax and get an MOT to prove the car is roadworthy. The state of the roads in Bedford are not car worthy! The worst I have seen them in years. Another road bridge is needed to cross the river- Prebend street is a massive bottle neck. Don’t waste money on re-paving the high street – it’s not going to add any value. Retail store presence is only going to reduce on the high street as consumers increasingly shop online.
    Public transport needs improving in a way so that it’s more convenient and cheaper to travel using public transport than driving.
    The train station is not fit for purpose – platforms are overcrowded and station can not cope with the number of commuters. Inadequate car parking facilities, public transport links and infrastructure in and around the train station area. Potential to make an exit / entrance on platform 4 to reduce the footfall/ traffic on ashburnham road.
    As a football coach I struggle to get a decent pitch for kids to play on. If we had better pitches for public use then kids would play more sports instead of hanging around and forming gangs and getting involved in crime and drugs. There is virtually zero police presence on midland road – drugs, prostitution and drunken disorder are common place yet the police are nowhere to be seen. Midland road needs a facelift ahead of the high street. Provide facilities for the homeless – shelters etc and support them to get their lives on track.
    However many millions we get please invest it wisely.

  15. How about an over the river walk that goes behind the county court building to the town bridge perhaps under it and beyond to the embankment which will provide a pedestrianized link and make the river more accessible and appealing.

  16. Everywhere in Bedford needs major attention half of the shops have closed down and have been filled with American sweet shops like do we really need those? There is no where for the young generation to do anything hence why they are hanging around on street corners, kidsworld still looks like a trashy kids play like it always has done oasis is bloody awful and has always been the same, do something useful for once for god sake 🤦🏻‍♀️Put a bloody bowling alley or amusements arcade! I’ve noticed everywhere that closes down in Bedford they just put another bloody cafe or food place we have so many places to sit down and have a coffee or something decent to eat switch it up a bit🤦🏻‍♀️I have a daughter on the way and dread her growing up in Bedford there’s nothing for her to do apart from kidsworld which is absolutely disgusting🤮start making a change around here!!!!!

  17. I think Aspects should revert back to how it was for young people. Megabowl and the arcade machines kept us out of trouble. We need to think along them lines. Burger shacks, arcade machines, teen/adult soft play, bowling, mini box park style food stalls every weekend, outdoor live bands, mini golf etc. It’s in a prime location with abundance of parking.

    1. Planning application 19/01624/MAF on Bedford borough website. 128 residential flats (total) in 4 blocks, external changes to the existing leisure park buildings including re-cladding, demolition and rebuild of unit B to form 2 restaurants, public realm alterations, site-wide provision of areas of open space (comprising amenity open space.

  18. I don’t want to say goodbye to cineworld and Pizza Hut bc I will have to say goodbye to free parking and cheap popcorn

  19. The whole city centre needs revamping and also investment into public transport becoming more regular and accessible.

  20. Need to input into learning disabilities this could be a cafe run by learning great opportunities for them to learn a skill and a job that has meaning

    1. No. Not relevant to enough of the community. It’s time for policing to support the whole community and not a minority.

  21. Bowlinggggg!!!! Make it happen !! Get these teenagers something to do, why is gang violence on a high right now in teenage groups? Because theres nothing else for them to do beside go to mcdonalds and loiter. Sort it out ASAP.

  22. No, let’s turn it into a mini Las Vegas. That will get the excitement going and the punters coming in. In turn the surrounding area inevitably will see an uplift (unintended but apt double entendre.)

  23. I think aspects would really be successful if it were a bowling or arcade etc – as all of these things are in MK, Luton etc so everyone in Bedford is going further to do basic leisure activities.

  24. Midland Road has become home to narcotics and anti social behaviour. This road is the heart of Bedford, please restore it to its former glory.

    1. Agreed. Not only Midland rd but the whole town centre. Ban these people from entering, the town is feeling dangerous at the minute.

  25. I agree that Aspects leisure needs a revamp. It was once thriving and is now a bit of a sad eyesore. There are so many empty units which could be used for so much good. The free parking is an added bonus! Maybe bring back free park and ride too?

    1. Planning application 19/01624/MAF on Bedford borough website. 128 residential flats (total) in 4 blocks, external changes to the existing leisure park buildings including re-cladding, demolition and rebuild of unit B to form 2 restaurants, public realm alterations, site-wide provision of areas of open space (comprising amenity open space.

  26. The children of Bedford need more entertainment e.g. trampoline park, indoor climbing etc. A cafe with a terrace making use of the river would also be a welcome addition.

  27. CREATE A PEOPLE FRIENDLY TOWN CENTRE FREE PARKING AND SHOPS/UNITS WITH AFFORDABLE RATES A SOCIAL AREA NOT AFRAID TO WALK AROUND IN

    1. There needs to be more activities in Bedford for the younger generation, things such as bowling, mini golf, darts, ping pong!
      There is also a lack of fun and exciting places to eat, or even places to go for brunch. Instead all we get given are small shabby cafes and chain restaurants.
      Midland road area also makes Bedford feel very unsafe at all times of day, even walking through town alone, at 5pm in winter when it is dark does not feel safe at all. Something needs to be done to revamp these areas to make people feel safer and also to want to stay in Bedford.
      Most young people move out of Bedford once their education is over as there is such a lack of things to do here. All these empty shops and spaces also makes it feel like Bedford is going downhill very quickly, making it more tempting for young people to leave. The only thing keeping them here perhaps is the affordability of housing if they commute to London for work.
      Also, the amount of time it takes for roadworks in Bedford is absolutely ridiculous, the work going on, on Manton Lane has taken forever and is still not complete. This clogs up Bedfords roads even more, which is also not helped by the numerous houses being built, taking up all the lovely green spaces. Why not build flats instead, that are more affordable for young people instead of taking up more land space which is going to create more flooding issues which is highly probably seeing as Bedford is surrounding a river.

      1. Agree with most of what you have said here but Bedford has an abundance of great places to eat. So many cuisines and lots of fantastic cafes and restaurants serving brunch.

  28. Renovate Midland Road!!! The buildings need a facelift and we need new businesses that attract more people so they shop in Bedford and not Milton Keynes

  29. There needs to be more for teenagers etc, a bowling alley or cafe where they can play pool, ping pong etc, hang out in safe surroundings

  30. Invest in attracting business back to the High Street and the new Riverside development- perhaps a subsidy to lower rent and give businesses a chance. The town centre is becoming emptier by the day and without investment this won’t change, furthering un-and underemployment in the surrounding area.

    The new Riverside development now has only 4 open restaurants, and will go further downhill, much like the High Street, unless something is done to attract investment. This could be a coffee shop, community/arts space, something to fill the empty units and retain the quality of this development.

  31. I agree, even bringing back stuff like the old bowling alley that used to be where the bingo Hall is. It seems like everyone just goes to MK or Rushden for things to do, we need local things for families here!

  32. I work at the Pizza Hut at this leisure park, it could definitely do with being updated a little to bring some more people to the area.

    1. Planning application 19/01624/MAF on Bedford borough website. 128 residential flats (total) in 4 blocks, external changes to the existing leisure park buildings including re-cladding, demolition and rebuild of unit B to form 2 restaurants, public realm alterations, site-wide provision of areas of open space (comprising amenity open space.

  33. New town centre! Need decent high street shops no more cafes if there’s no shops no one will be wanting to go there to use the cafes !

  34. Sort Prebend street the worst gateway to any town I have ever visited. Leave the high street alone and invest that money in supporting the businesses.

  35. The town centre urgently needs some attention. So many empty shops, can the empty spaces be turned into something for the community? The soft play in the Harpur Centre is so well used by families with young children, things like that really benefit the community and encourage people to come into town and spend their money in the shops we have left. Also such a lack of creative/arts community in Bedford, something should be done to support and inspire.

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