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Towering vision for town

Bedford College Tower Block River View

The 1950s tower block at the Cauldwell Street campus of Bedford College is to undergo a £9 million upgrade, if plans are approved.

The dated blue and orange-squared six-storey building, which dates back to the days when it was known as Mander College, will be remodelled and re-cladded with upgraded access and energy sustainability suitable for the 21st century.

A detailed planning application is to be made before the end of the year, and as part of that process a public consultation day, where people can view plans, is being held at Bedford College from 3.00pm – 7.00 pm on Tuesday December 7th. Subject to permission, the work will start in the summer of 2022 and finish during 2023.

Bedford College

Ian Pryce CBE, who will be celebrating his 25th anniversary as CEO of what is now The Bedford College Group in December 2023 said:

“This building dates back to the earliest days of the joint Bedford College of Further and Higher Education. We have gone full circle now and The Bedford College Group is an establishment where people of all ages can sign up to further qualifications or obtain a full degree.”

The rest of the Cauldwell Street campus has been refurbished over recent years – combining the high tech of the Advanced Engineering and Modern Methods of Construction buildings with the Stansfeld building on St Mary’s Street which complements the old College House, said to be the oldest brick building in Bedford.

High standards of design have combined with the latest building techniques to ensure the site is an asset to the town and is already well on the way to achieve the Group’s target of reaching net carbon zero by 2030.

“Thousands of people, we think at least one in ten of every person in Bedford Borough has completed a course of some sort at Mander or Bedford College over the years and we would very much welcome their feedback on this long over-due refurbishment of the tower block.

“It has been my very great privilege to have been CEO of this college, I have always said I have the ‘Best job in Bedford’ and to see the tower block turned into a shining citadel of learning will be a message to the community that the very best education is right here in the heart of town.”

The Bedford College Group was voted the Best FE College in the UK 2020 and has attracted millions of pounds of Government investment to the area.

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