Below, in a slideshow format are just some of the comments, letters and emails of support we have received for the Bedford Rowing Lake project.
To whom it may concern
I wanted to offer my support to the development of the proposed rowing lake as highlighted on the web site http://www.bedford-rowing-lake.com. I believe that if this proposal is not supported by the local community and more specifically the local council that this will prove to be a great loss for the people of Bedfordshire both current and in the future.
We are constantly bombarded with messages in the local paper about how Bedford is trying to rejuvenate and offer itself as an attractive place to work, live and indeed to visit. We also see messages of despair from similar people bemoaning the fact that Milton Keynes is causing the downfall of the Bedfordshire area and that the town is unable to compete due to the superior facilities that MK offers. Well it would seem that in the rowing lake that Bedford has an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage over the “big bad bully boy” that is Milton Keynes and to offer something different to that offered in the surrounding area – an opportunity to Innovate not Imitate (usually on a smaller scale).
And this, I guess that is the rub. For the leaders and pathfinders of this world, innovation is the key to onwards development for the less skilled, able and visionary public servant – imitation is a far less risky, albeit less potentially rewarding, path as it has already been proven by someone else. I realise that rowing is regarded as a minority sport and as such the councillors will argue that it is not in the interests of the general public – however, even in a local perspective remember the pride in the area following the Olympic Gold medal winning exploits of Redgrave (including local boy Tim Foster). Likewise, the meteoric rise of our own Paula was met with huge local pride, even giving her the dubious honour of naming a road after her – to my knowledge Marathon running is not a sport supported or undertaken by a large majority of the local population. I would like to draw one more parallel, and that is the historic belief that rugby was for the upwardly mobile members of the community, football being the working mans game – and yet look at the national pride as the recent winning exploits of the England rugby team in Australia.
It would also appear that outside of sport the rowing lake, the area will also create some stunning local landscape while will benefit all in the local area and who knows may even bring a few people into the local area, who may even “spend a few quid” while they are here, benefiting local business.
Should the local people and their representatives take the easy way out on the rowing lake, then it is likely that this stance will capitulate on other issues. In the short term, this will mean that rowing, locally at least remain an elitist sport and the opportunity to get involved for the next potential generation of world champions will not come from Bedford.
I trust that the views highlighted in this email, which are my own (and I should point out that I have never rowed in a boat – so it can not be condemned as the ramblings of a core activist in the sport), may strike a note with the policy makers within the local area and will highlight the road upon which has been embarked for too long and must now be redressed before it is too late for Bedfordshire and “big bad MK” has taken all.
I leave you with these words “PRIDE IN BEDFORD”.
I have been in support of the new lake ever since the new plans were introduced. Bedford is a superb place to row but has become over crowded and now dangerous due to the high volume of rowers and other boats.
I have rowed on the river through the town for the last 5 years and seen in that time the river become unusable for high class athletes. Bedford in the last 3 years at junior level alone produced at least 12 junior internationals, including 2 bronze medals at the junior world championships and many more at the coupe.
This year there will also be 2 people who learnt to row in Bedford involved with the boat race.
These are fantastic achievements and will continue to occur due to the great coaching set up in Bedford but is under threat due to the poor facilities on the river. It is becoming harder for people to learn due to the lack of space, this is why the new lake would be perfect, better standard people would benifit dramatically, the knock on effect would be the river would be less busy and perfect for learners.
Having rowed internationally and now coaching full time in bedford I think the problems need adressing for bedford long term future and the lake is the solution. The hapur trust schools would benifit but I also think the clubs would really improve with better assess to better facilities which they have not really had before, this would help increase the clubs sizes as it draws more people ensuring the clubs survival and GB rowing as a whole. I pledge any support I can give.
I believe that Bedford, where rowing is/has and always will be part of our heritage would hugely benefit from the rowing lake. MK has the snow dome, why can’t we have the ‘wet bowl’.
Good luck for the planning aplication.
I’d like to register my full support for the Rowing Lake. The area is increasingly popular with local families already (Cycling from the ‘Marina’ to Danish Camp is a great way to spend a Sunday Afternoon). Having the lake and surrounding area to explore and picnic in will be a fantastic addition to Bedford. It will attract tourism to the area as well as Major Rowing events.
Anyone with any doubts as to the benefits should take a look at the areas around the Rowing lake in Peterborough. Not just Thorpe Park itself, but Ferry Meadows nearby is a beautiful place to visit. If we could mirror this, and include tastefully-planned Children’s play areas, then that would be the icing on the cake.
The potential for the town, not just the Rowers, is huge.
Since the crass decision to bring the canal into Bedford at Kempston will destroy river rowing in Bedford and replace it with noisy dirty diesel boats, it is important to have a rowing centre to replace it.
I trust the planners will allow the application
I would like to add my support to this rare opportunity to add something of great worth to the citizens of Bedfordshire, whether rowers specifically or people interested in their environment more generally.
The proposed rowing lake is an excellent idea.
Apart from being a much needed asset for Bedford in terms of the facilities it will offer to everyone and the revenue it will generate, it will also be a great place to take children for picnics, walks and bike rides whilst watching people take part in rowing, windsurfing, canoeing, fishing and lots of the other sports on offer.
Who knows, with such a lovely place to go to, it may inspire some children to take part in sports instead of sitting at home in front of the telly?
To everyone concerned
I should like to support the rowing lake project wholeheartedly. Bedford needs a facility like this to ‘put it on the map’.
The town and county should never forget all the POSITIVE national publicity they have received over more than the last ten years from the sport of rowing.
If this project does not succeed the town will have missed a golden opportunity to have a very special facility for ALL the community.
As a Bedfordian born and bred I am surprised that it has taken so long for this project to get to this stage and congratulate those who have been working so hard to see this ambition fulfilled.
The issue here is not really better facilities for water sports with a sensational park for the enjoyment of all Bedfordians, this is far more important than that. It is one of opportunity to enliven the economy of the area. The Lake will bring jobs and industry to our area and be a boost to the aspirations of local people.
This Lake will bring to Bedford a status of excellence not only in the UK but internationally . The town is already known for John Bunyan, its football team, its rowing and its schools but this Lake far exceeds anything that we have had the chance to enjoy before.
There must be no more ambivalence, those making this decision should be proud of the new opportunities they are bringing to the Town, those thinking negatively should bear in mind that they are denying local young people a new future with nothing as an alternative.
“No you can not have the lake and we have nothing else to offer you as an alternative” is not a slogan for anyone’s manifesto, it will be seized on by opposition parties should this chance go begging. Heaven help any planning officer denying our young people a better future.
Heads up Bedfordians our town now has a great future.
Having read the proposals on the website I would like to lend my full support to the rowing lake project. I am not a rower but live locally in Great Barford and feel the area is desperately short of attractive open space. A facility like this would give an ideal venue for dog walkers with small children, like myself, to enjoy open space away from the perils of village traffic and the land at present as an open quarry is unattractive and of no benefit to any member of the community.