Tag Archives: Bedford

Bedford in lockdown; have we missed an opportunity?

Across the country, and indeed the world, life has changed for millions of people. These changes have been forced upon us, driven by a silent killer that has no respect for colour or creed. There have been many articles written, many news items broadcast, about whether these changes will remain a part of our everyday lives.

Working from home, taking more exercise, cycling on empty streets. The list goes on. We have been able to connect with nature, to listen to birdsong, to breathe fresh air, to be spared the blight of vehicle noise from our overused roads.

A swan taking flight with an empty road on the embankment.

For some, a crisis is both an opportunity and a threat. For those with initiative and curiosity, the lockdown has presented us with a chance to do things differently. We have seen some brilliantly novel ideas, from ordinary people, put into action to help get us through lockdown.

So is initiative the preserve of private citizens? Of course not. In some cities, roads have been permanently closed to traffic, to cater for the rise in people who have taken to the streets in their thousands to exercise. Right across the UK, local authorities have been using the lockdown to improve the lives of its citizens. Initiatives have included such simple ideas as placing large flower pots across roads to prevent access. This has brought with it improved safety for pedestrians, it has reduced road noise, and it has brought with it greatly improved air quality.

So what changes have taken place in Bedford? What decisions have been taken to use this defining period in many people’s lives for the better? The answer is nothing. The Borough Council has not even held a public (virtual) meeting since 23rd March. Bedford has not closed any roads, even when vehicle usage has dropped so dramatically. And by failing to seize the initiative, Bedford has missed the opportunity for us to imagine a different, much improved environment.

For example, why has the Embankment remained a thoroughfare for drivers? Why couldn’t we have ‘joined’ together Russell Park and the Embankment, without the interruption of traffic. Imagine how that would have been. This type of initiative could have been repeated across the Borough. Life could have changed for the better.

We are administered by the Borough Council, but we are certainly not led by it. So many ideas could have been put into action, but not in Bedford.

Archived: Connecting with people in Oakley Ward…

Campaigning has allowed me to understand people's concerns like never before.

Campaigning has allowed me to understand people’s concerns like never before.

I decided to stand as a Borough Council candidate for the Conservatives over Christmas and was endorsed in early January.  I started knocking on doors immediately and it has been a wonderful experience so far.  OK, so some people are rude and ignorant and close the door very quickly, but the vast majority of people are intrigued by my approach.

I always introduce myself and explain that you now have a choice on 7th May for the person you want to elect as your Borough Councillor; this has not been the case for many years as nobody has ever seriously stood against the sitting councillor. In 2011 the Conservative party did not even put forward a candidate. This makes benchmarking my progress difficult but I have been encouraged by so much support and intelligent conversation on the streets of Oakley, Pavenham and Stevington. One of the most talked about subjects is crime; like all of us who live in villages, burglaries and robberies have the potential to change people’s lives in a split second. The Police need to reassure the residents of these villages that they are actively hunting for those behind the rising number of these types of crimes.

If you see me, stop and have a chat. I may well be knocking on your door soon as well. I want to represent you in the Borough Council and I want to listen to your views. I have been leading and listening to people for my entire career and representing you would be one of my greatest achievements.

Vote Ade Clewlow on 7th May.

Archived: On the campaign trail.

Campaigning with Alistair in Oakley earlier this year.

February 2015

I spent a couple of hours canvassing with Alistair Burt earlier in the year.  To make changes in the Ward and the Borough, it is essential to have good relationships in Westminster. If Alistair is re-elected in the General Election, I am confident that he will do all he can to support me as your Borough Councillor if you elect me on 7th May.

‘Promoted by Katherine Arnold on behalf of Ade Clewlow and Alistair Burt, all of NEBCA, Biggleswade Conservative Club, St Andrews St, Biggleswade SG18 8BA’