Be honest with yourself. Have you done the majority of you shopping recently in Bedford or have you gone further afield - Milton Keynes, Rushden Lakes, Cambridge or somewhere else? Now stop and think for a moment, why is that?
Don't get me wrong, I understand that most are being a little more cautious this year with living expenses creeping up. And the cold weather doesn't necessarily make you feel like wondering around outside. But unfortunately - as the saying goes if you don't use it you will lose it.
- We've seen many shops leave our High Street recently. We've seen vast amounts of money being spent on road changes and new pavements etc - but really, does fancy street furniture make you want to go to our town centre? Or is it what you will find when you get there?
- We need to stop looking at the traditional use of a High Street and start forward thinking. We know that many people shop online. But in my opinion, good customer service in my local shops far outweighs the online experience.
- We need to offer something for everyone. Teens who want the trendy shops, little ones whose parents need something to entertain them whilst shopping - being a Dad of four, I know all about the balance of shopping and fun on the same trip because if they are happy it is all a lot less stressful.
- We need accessible toilets, we need a library that is open to all - not just if you have a membership card.
- We need more activities.
- We need a review of our car parking charges.
- We need to show those that have chosen to set up in Bedford that we do care about them.
And as your Mayor I would be doing more to see our county town flourish. I strongly believe that Bedford deserves better.