Borough of Bedford
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Region||East of England|
|Administrative HQ||Borough Hall, Bedford|
|• Type||Unitary Authority|
|• Governing body||Bedford Borough Council|
|• Executive mayor||Dave Hodgson|
|• MPs||Richard Fuller (C)|
Nadine Dorries (C)
Mohammad Yasin (L)
|• Total||476.4 km2 (183.9 sq mi)|
|• Density||360/km2 (900/sq mi)|
|• Ethnicity||85.5% White British |
8.1% British Asian
2.9% Black British
1.3% Chinese or other
|• Summer (DST)||British Summer Time|
The Borough of Bedford is a unitary authority area with borough status in the ceremonial county of Bedfordshire, England. Its council is based in Bedford, its namesake and principal settlement, which is the county town of Bedfordshire. The borough contains one large urban area, the 71st largest in the United Kingdom that comprises Bedford and the adjacent town of Kempston, surrounded by a rural area with many villages. 75% of the borough's population live in the Bedford Urban Area and the five large villages which surround it, which makes up slightly less than 6% of the total land area of the Borough.
The borough is also the location of the Wixams new town development, which received its first residents in 2009.
The ancient borough of Bedford was a borough by prescription, with its original date of incorporation unknown. The earliest surviving charter was issued c. 1166 by Henry II, confirming to the borough the liberties and customs which it had held in the reign of Henry I. The borough became a municipal borough under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835.
The District of Bedford was formed on 1 April 1974 as a merger of the existing borough of Bedford, along with Kempston Urban District and Bedford Rural District. In 1975 the district was granted a royal charter granting borough status as North Bedfordshire. The borough was renamed as Borough of Bedford in 1992. Over half of the former municipal borough of Bedford is unparished. However, Brickhill is a parish. The rest of the district including Kempston is parished.
The Department for Communities and Local Government have reorganised Bedfordshire's administrative structure as part of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England, meaning that Bedford Borough Council became a unitary authority in April 2009. This means Bedford Borough has assumed responsibility in areas such as education, social services and transport which were previously provided by Bedfordshire County Council.
See also: Bedford local elections
Unlike most English districts, Bedford's council is led by a directly elected mayor of Bedford, who has been Dave Hodgson since 16 October 2009.
The first elections for the new unitary Bedford Borough Council were held on 4 June 2009 when 36 councillors in addition to the mayor were elected. Since an electoral review which came into effect for the local elections in 2011, Bedford Borough has had 40 councillors in addition to the mayor.
|2009||9||7||13||7||0||No overall control|
|2011||12||12||12||4||0||No overall control|
|2015||15||14||9||2||0||No overall control|
|2019||11||11||15||1||2||No overall control|
Since the 2019 elections, Bedford Borough Council’s executive committee (cabinet) is headed by the mayor and includes 10 members from the Liberal Democrat, and Labour groups, and the Independent. Conservative and Green members sit in opposition on the council.
The urban part of the borough consisting of most of the Bedford/Kempston Urban Area is divided into 13 wards, some of which are also civil parishes:
|Ward name||Population (2009 estimate)||Percentage from minority groups|
|Kempston Central and East||7,500||23%|
The wards and constituent civil parishes in the rural part of the borough are as follows:
|Ward name||Civil Parishes||Population (2009 estimate)||Percentage from minority groups|
|Biddenham & Bromham||7,460||9%|
From 1892 the council was based at the Town Hall in St Paul's Square, which had previously been part of Bedford School, with parts of the building dating back to c. 1550. Following the abolition of Bedfordshire County Council in 2009, Bedford Borough Council took over the old County Hall on Cauldwell Street, renaming it Borough Hall.
The following people and military units have received the Freedom of the Borough of Bedford.
((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)