200-year vision of B&MK Waterway has never been closer

  • Developers must take account of the route.
  • B&MK Waterway "one of the most well thought-out and beneficial projects": British Waterways.
  • Linear ponds to be dug in Marston Vale early next year - newts permitting
  • Waterway and community boat at the heart of Bedford Waterspace Study.

The vision of a waterway linking the River Great Ouse at Bedford with the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes first proposed on the very day 200 years ago was celebrated last Friday (4th November) at a conference and dinner when the Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson, said: "I don't want there to be any more mayors before we have completion of the project."

Graham Mabbutt, B&MK Waterway Trust Chairman with the Mayors and Mayoresses of Bedford and Milton Keynes - Mayoress Christine Hodgson and Mayor Dave Hodgson of Bedford and Cllr Alan Richards and Mayoress Christine Richards of Milton Keynes.

Dignitaries, mayors, councillors, academics, officials and members gathered for the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust's second annual partnership conference and bicentenary dinner at The Barns Hotel, Bedford - the birthplace of Samuel Whitbread, who led a group of local businessmen to petition the then Mayor, Charles Short, to propose the original plan in 1811. The project was revived in the mid-1990s.

Jane Wolfson, vice-president of the B&MK Waterway Trust, accepts a specially framed photograph of the Waterways Trust awards ceremony earlier this year when the B&MK was winner in two categories and runner-up in a third - the pinnacle of her term of office. Graham Mabbutt made the presentation with Mayor Dave Hodgson and Mayoress Christine Hodgson seated and leading the applause.

"The Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson, told the conference: "I have never been more convinced that we are getting closer to seeing the waterway happen."

A-Z Project Delivery Plan (PDF) published at the Annual Partnership Conference
Press Release: BMK 200 Year Vision