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4 March 2010, 13:40 | Updated: 10 March 2010, 12:40
The creation of what will become Bedfordshire's biggest park is taking a step forward today.
The Bedford River Valley Park (BRVP) will stretch from the Priory Country Park over to Willington. It will eventually be home to a new rowing lake, a science and technology park and new facilities for the University of Bedfordshire.
Over 150 local people and organisations attended the event designed to harness local support and help speed up the creation of the BRVP.
The event, organised by the Marston Vale Trust at the Harpur Suite in Bedford, saw the Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson urge everyone to get involved and become a Champion of the Park.
Guy Lambourne of The Marston Vale Trust said: "We had a tremendously positive response - everyone was genuinely supportive and keen to see BRVP happen. As well as interested individuals, many visitors came along representing local interest groups including walkers, rowers and kayakers, wildlife enthusiasts and geologists; some represented the interests of older people and children.
"It’s great news that over 40 people signed up to become BRVP Champions. We’d like to say a big thank you to Dave Hodgson, whose call for Champions inspired many more people, from all walks of life, to get involved in this way."
Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson said: "I’m heartened by this encouraging start – and people can still sign up to become Champions. Anyone who wants to get involved in practical tasks, put forward ideas about how the park develops, or who just want get involved in future events, can all become Champions – it’s a great way to show support for the new country park."
The Bedford River Valley Park vision will see 3½ square miles east of Bedford transformed into a mosaic of landscapes where people can exercise, relax, play, compete, learn and work in a variety of natural settings where wildlife can flourish.
Situated across the flood plain of the River Great Ouse, the Park will provide a link from the heart of Bedford, through Priory Country Park to the wider countryside around the village of Willington. It will unlock 868 hectares (2145 acres), more than 3 ½ square miles of land for the creation of public open space, wildlife habitats, flood management, renewable energy production and employment.
Project partners are now starting work to set up a BRVP Forum - bringing together those people who have expressed an interest in taking particular aspects of the Park forward.
You can listen to Mathew Williams' full interview with Guy Lambourne by clicking here...
Anyone who couldn’t attend the event but would like to join a Forum, become a Champion, or simply find out more, can visit: www.bedfordrivervalleypark.org or contact Guy Lambourne or James Russell, Forest of Marston Vale, on 01234 767037.