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What should happen to the empty Beales in Bedford?

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Closed retailer Beales on Bedford High Street. High Streets are in danger.

Following on from our recent look at ‘Five things that need to change to improve Bedford High Street, it is clear that locals are extremely divided on what should happen to some of the vacant shops. One particular shop located near to the High Street has remained permanently closed since mid-march.

Beales, one of Britain’s oldest department stores went into administration at the start of 2020; resulting in the closure of over 20 stores. Beales in Bedford was formerly the home of Braggins but that all changed in 1982 when the store was bought as part of an acquisition by Bournemouth based Beales. Fast forward 38 years and the building is now an empty shell.

So, what would you like to replace Beales in Bedford

We have grouped and shortlisted some of the thoughts from locals to put this question to the vote. Share your thoughts on what should replace Beales in Bedford.

1. Artisan/handcraft hub

“Turn the likes of Beales into small bespoke or handcrafted product shops and keep rents down and that way it will attract clientele as they can’t buy the products online cheaper. Encourage new enterprises with attractive start-up grants, not loans so entrepreneurs don’t need to gamble to set up businesses. Invest in the youngsters too. Don’t turn the town into flats as that won’t bring in business and will disrupt the feel a town centre needs as a hub of eclectic shops” – Lucy Fox

2. Community market

“I’ve got an idea. Let’s face it, the prospect of committing to full-time business rates means retail is very unappealing. Why would a successful online trader ever make the leap into a physical store? However, why not operate timeshares. So, carve up Beales into lots of little stalls/shops. Create standard fit wall fittings which each trader can have their branding and info printed on, simply slip and slide in and out of the hangings when you are trading.

Then promote to your customers when you’ll be there. So Mondays and Tuesdays stall 1 is Sarah’s Soaps, and then Wed and Thurs it’s Bob’s Bangers. This way consumers experience variety and feel good about supporting local businesses. And sellers don’t have to put everything on the line to sell in the town centre. The Bedford Community Market you could call it. You heard it here first people!’ – Kieran Young

3. Modern library

Expand the library into Beales, libraries aren’t just about books, there are computers, exercise classes, children’s activities etc etc. With regards to books there are lots that are not on display but hidden from view in the stack or reserve collection. – Rosemary Johnson

4. Flats/Homes

“Beales and Marks & Spencer are great buildings and part of Bedford’s history I would not want them destroyed. Keep the facades and makeover the insides as flats so that people can live in the town. Keep the streets/pavements clean as they are very grubby from traffic fumes.” Valerie Harper-Skelton

Lover of all things FAST. If I am not in the office, you can find me near a track or under a car. I also work with great people in TrendLife's Editorial team.

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Why Luton needs to ignore pointless ‘worst places’ to live polls

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The Mall Luton - Luton shopping mall

Once again, Luton has been voted as one of the worst places to live in England. The good news for Luton is that most people understand these unofficial worst places polls are pointless and misleading.

Why ‘worst places’ to live polls are pointless

  • The sample sizes are far too small. In the case of the latest 2022 worst places to live survey, the sample size is 0.16% of the population.
  • Moaning/complaining about the area you live in is quintessentially British
  • It is unclear if the voters live in the areas they voted for
  • The comments are obviously given in jest
  • Polls like this are considered click bait as they generate a lot of traffic

Aside from all the points above, ‘worst places’ to live reviews are often counterproductive. What is a great area for one person is not necessary a great area for another. Some love city life and some prefer outdoor spaces. We are all different and have different views on what makes a great place to live. And this is why these ‘worst places’ to live reviews are often counterproductive. Rather than focusing on the positive, they focus on negatives to create this yearly ‘worst places’ to live chart.

Luton and Milton Keynes David Lloyd reopen for outdoor fitness

David Lloyd Luton

Luton is a nice place to live for many reasons

These reasons range from a combination of affordable properties, great transport links to the capital and excellent schools. Alongside excellent links to the capital, living in Luton also offers locals a range of excellent things to do!

  • Keeping fit in Luton – From David Lloyd to Virgin Active and a host of budget friendly gyms, Luton residents keeping active and fit in Luton
  • Entertainment in Luton – If you fancy watching Spiderman at Luton Cineworld or visiting Luton’s Hat District for theatre productions, live comedy, or live music, one thing you won’t be is bored.
  • Outdoor activities – From the Land Rover Experience at the Luton Hoo Estate to Whipsnade Zoo, there is plenty to see and do in and around Luton.

Luton Hoo Estate

Our top five reasons Luton is a great place to live

  1. A unique sense of Lutonian pride. It could be supporting the Hatters at Kenilworth Road or supporting new businesses in the area. Luton residents really like to support the cause.
  2. A diverse population. One of Luton’s greatest strengths is it diversity
  3. Great transport links in all directions
  4. There is a lot to do in and around Luton if you look
  5. Luton is affordable thanks to a wide range of independent businesses.

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Win a ‘Freebie Fridays’ meal by tagging your favourite restaurant

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Win a 'Freebie Fridays' meal by tagging your favourite restaurant

By simply tagging your favourite restaurant and who you would like to dine with, you could win a ‘Freebie Fridays‘ free meal for two courtesy of TrendLife Magazine. Launching in January 2022, Freebie Fridays will give foodies across The Three Counties the chance to take a friend or loved one to a restaurant of their choice

Freebie Fridays Entry tasks

  1. Tag your chosen restaurant/eatery.
  2. Tag your chosen guest and follow us.
  3. Sit back and wait for the weekly draw.

You can tag as many friends and resturants in each draw. Duplicates will only be counted once. You and your nominated guest BOTH need to follow us to be entered into the prize draw. You can enter on both Instagram or Facebook.

Win a 'Freebie Fridays' meal by tagging your favourite restaurant

 

Freebie Fridays Terms and Conditions

  1. The promoter of the Freebie Fridays prize draw is TrendLife Magazine. The promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  2. The Freebie Fridays prize draw is open to UK residents aged 18 or over.
  3. Winners must select/tag a restaurant within the Three Counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. The winner will be chosen at random and a check will be performed to ensure the winner’s account is. valid. You cannot transfer the prize to a third party.
  4. To enter the prize draw you should follow the instructions on the Facebook post or Instagram post announcing the competition.
  5. Late, invalid or incomplete entries will not be considered, and we accept no responsibility for lost entries.
  6. The Freebie Fridays prize for one winner will be defined within the Facebook and Instagram post.
  7. The Freebie Fridays prize is non-transferable and there are no cash alternatives. Freebie Fridays meal value will be limited to £50 per person. Alcoholic drinks are not included.
  8. The winner will be chosen at random from all qualifying entries. The result is final and no discussion will be entered into concerning the outcome.
  9. The Freebie Fridays prize draw closes on the date defined in the social media post. Entries received after this date will not be considered.
  10. The winner’s contact details may be passed on to a third party for prize fulfilment purposes.
  11. The personal information and contact details you supply will be used only for the purposes of administering the competition, including contacting winners. Winners will be asked to review their meal and chosen restaurant.
  12. We reserve the right to amend these terms and conditions or to cancel, alter or amend the draw or the Freebie Fridays prize due to any circumstances that arise beyond our control.
  13. The Freebie Fridays prize draw is subject to the laws of England and Wales.

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Milton Keynes Theatre reveals it’s Winter/Spring 2022 season

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Milton Keynes Theatre has today announced its Winter/Spring 2022 season with a programme of outstanding shows, shaping next year into one of the biggest in the theatre’s history. 

Since it’s reopening in July 2021, Milton Keynes Theatre has seen a joyous return of live audiences, safely welcoming over 100,000 people through its doors to enjoy 42 quality shows. Here’s what the leading live entertainment venue has in store for 2022. The new year will see the final few performances of the highly anticipated, GIANT of a pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, which opens on Sat 11 Dec and closes on Sat 8 Jan.

Ashley Banjo and Diversity with Pete Firman and Gina Murray in Jack and the Beanstalk at Milton Keynes Theatre

From 11 January, everyone’s favorite creepy and kooky family are back in town. The Addams Familystars Strictly Come Dancing icon Joanne Clifton as the dark and mysterious Morticia. The spectacular musical comedy comes from the writing team of multi award-winning hit musical Jersey Boys, with music and lyrics by Tony award nominated Andrew Lippa.

Milton Keynes will be the third city in the UK to experience the dazzling show which dominated theatre award ceremonies from its original production in 1982 to its West End debut in 2017. The long-awaited UK tour of Dreamgirls arrives at Milton Keynes Theatre for two weeks from 25 January to 5 March starring The Voice semi-finalist Nicole Raquel Dennis and Milton Keynes actress Natalie Kassanga.

Bringing some rock and roll to your February afternoons and evenings will be the electric School of Rock. Relive the face-melting music from the beloved film and enjoy Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new hits delivered by a band of insanely talented kids. Rock out with the band from 8 to 12 February.

Jersey Boys UK & Ireland Tour. Credit Birgit + Ralf Brinkhoff

Jersey Boys UK & Ireland Tour. Credit Birgit + Ralf Brinkhoff

From 23 February to 5 March, the stage sensation Jersey Boys returns to Milton Keynes Theatre’s stage. The smash hit musical goes behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons from the streets of New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Welsh National Opera will bring a trio of operatic delights on their return to Milton Keynes. Powerhouses Don Giovanni and Madam Butterfly take to the stage between 22 and 26 March while Katie Mitchell’s acclaimed production of Czech opera Jenůfa performs on 25 March.

The scrumptious candy-coated Nutcraker! Credit: Johan Persson

2022 will also welcome two spectacular ballet productions; the scrumptious candy-coated Nutcraker! from choreographer Matthew Bourne in February, and in May Northern Ballet take us back to the roaring 2020’s with The Great Gatsby.

For one night only, audiences can enjoy Strictly Come Dancing stars Kevin Clifton in Burn The Floor(17 January) and Anton Du Beke and Giovanni Pernice in their dance extravaganza Him & Me (17 July). On 13 March, laugh out loud to Friends! The Musical Parody, a hilarious good-hearted romp with everyone’s favourite New Yorkers.

Moving towards the spring season, Milton Keynes will host a handful of phenomenal plays, including psychological thriller Catch Me If You Can (from 5 April) starring Dallas legend Patrick Duffy and brand-new stage play Cluedo (from 30 May) based on the family favourite boardgame.

Following a sell-out run in 2019, Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed production of Les Misérablesreturns to Milton Keynes for a stunning four-week residence from 26 April. And the UK premiere tour of Bat Out of Hell rolls into town from 14 June, bringing to life the legendary anthems of Jim Steinman & Meat Loaf.

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