Borough of Bedford
Bedford Borough Hall
Official logo of Bedford
Bedford shown within Bedfordshire
Bedford shown within Bedfordshire
Coordinates: 52°8′0″N 0°27′0″W / 52.13333°N 0.45000°W / 52.13333; -0.45000
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country England
RegionEast of England
Ceremonial countyBedfordshire
Administrative HQBorough Hall, Bedford
 • TypeUnitary Authority
 • Governing bodyBedford Borough Council
 • Executive mayorDave Hodgson
Liberal Democrats
 • MPsRichard Fuller (C)
Nadine Dorries (C)
Mohammad Yasin (L)
 • Total476.4 km2 (183.9 sq mi)
 (mid-2019 est.)[1]
 • Total173,292
 • Rank113th
 • Density360/km2 (900/sq mi)
 • Ethnicity
85.5% White British
8.1% British Asian
2.9% Black British
1.3% Chinese or other
2.2% Mixed
Time zoneGMT
 • Summer (DST)British Summer Time
ONS code00KB
NUTS 3UKH22 Edit this at Wikidata

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.[2][3] 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.[4] The borough was renamed as Borough of Bedford in 1992.[5] 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.[6][7][8]

Council and cabinet

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.[9]

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.

Year Conservative Labour Liberal Democrat Independent Green Control
2009[10] 9 7 13 7 0 No overall control
2011[11] 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.[12]

Wards and civil parishes

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:[13]

Ward name Population (2009 estimate)[13] Percentage from minority groups[13]
Brickhill 8,540 14%
Castle 7,190 32%
Cauldwell 9,170 44%
De Parys 6,840 18%
Goldington 8,360 19%
Harpur 8,370 26%
Kempston Central and East 7,500 23%
Kempston North 4,050 24%
Kempston South 4,370 20%
Kempston West 3,770 15%
Kingsbrook 9,280 25%
Newnham 7,620 18%
Putnoe 7,650 14%
Queens Park 8,470 58%
Total population 101,180 25%[14]
Map of the wards in Bedford Borough
Map of the wards in Bedford Borough

The wards and constituent civil parishes in the rural part of the borough are as follows:[13]

Ward name Civil Parishes[13] Population (2009 estimate)[13] Percentage from minority groups[13]
Biddenham & Bromham 7,460 9%
Clapham Clapham 4,670 9%
Eastcotts 3,330 9%
Elstow 4,500 15%
Great Barford 6,870 6%
Harrold 4,240 4%
Kempston Rural 3,600 7%
Oakley 3,790 5%
Riseley 3,440 4%
Sharnbrook 4,170 4%
Wilshamstead Wilshamstead 2,550 4%
Wootton Wootton 4,480 6%
Wyboston 3,780 4%
Total population 56,880 7%


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.

Freedom of the Borough

The following people and military units have received the Freedom of the Borough of Bedford.

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (August 2020)


Military Units

See also


  1. ^ "Population Estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Mid-2019". Office for National Statistics. 6 May 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  2. ^ Page, William, ed. (1912). "The Borough of Bedford". A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 3. British History Online. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Bedford Borough records introduction". Bedfordshire Archives. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  4. ^ North Bedfordshire Borough Council, London Gazette, 31 October 1975, page 13813. Change of name and status from Bedford District to North Bedfordshire Borough with effect from 16 October 1975.
  5. ^ Bulletin of Changes of Local Authority Status, Names and Areas, 1 April 1992 - 31 March 1993 (Department of the Environment). Change of name from North Bedfordshire to Bedford effective from 1 October 1992.
  6. ^ Unitary solution confirmed for Bedfordshire – New flagship unitary councils approved for Cheshire – Corporate – Communities and Local Government Archived 22 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ County council to be abolished in shake-up – Bedford Today
  8. ^ A New Beginning Archived 24 February 2009 at
  9. ^ "Lib Dem win in mayoral election". BBC News. 16 October 2009.
  10. ^ "Lib Dems the winners in Borough Hall elections – News". Bedford Today. 5 June 2009. Archived from the original on 8 June 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  11. ^ "Bedford Borough Council elections – the results – Local". Bedford Today. 9 May 2011. Archived from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  12. ^ "Find Councillor | Bedford Borough Council". Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "Ward Profiles". 5 May 2011. Archived from the original on 6 May 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Olympic canoeist Etienne Stott given freedom of Bedford". BBC News. 11 December 2012.
  16. ^ "RAF Cardington Camp".
  17. ^ "In pictures: Royal Anglians march through Bedford". BBC News. 22 July 2014.

Coordinates: 52°08′04″N 0°27′47″W / 52.13444°N 0.46306°W / 52.13444; -0.46306