Willow Road (an area previously known as “Dents Land” 1866) comprises semi-detached and detached dwellings, as well as terraced houses and apartments. The road serves a significant proportion of the community including adjoining residencies in the Maples and Acorn Way. Despite its importance, the quality of the road is a matter of concern for residents due to the presence of various hazards and it’s deteriorating condition. Our recent independent inspection exposes the poor state of the road, as well as the footpaths. Overall, the road exhibits inadequate environmental maintenance as a result of serious neglect by the local government over several years.

The Bedford public placed most importance on ‘Safety on roads’ and ‘Condition of Roads’.

The National Highway and Transport Public Satisfaction Survey.


The road surface is in a very poor state of repair (as can be seen from the photographs published in our report), with several areas of loose asphalt. The cobbles, an attractive feature of the road, also require maintenance, with missing cobbles in several places. There are patches of unsightly historic repairs that add to the dilapidated look of the road.




The condition of footpaths is more concerning. One of the most significant problems affecting Willow Road is its cracked surface. The cracks in the pavement not only reduce the road’s overall stability but also increase the risk of accidents. Moreover, the cracks provide an ideal environment for the growth of weeds and other vegetation, which can further weaken the surface and cause additional damage.

The conventional surveying techniques used to measure the quality of the road surface may not be sufficient to accurately assess the condition of the pavement and verge, as it fails to capture the nuances and complexities of the road surface.

These hazards can pose a significant threat to the safety of pedestrians, especially those who are elderly, disabled, or otherwise vulnerable. The Department for Transport’s guidelines emphasizes the importance of addressing trip hazards in public spaces to prevent accidents and improve road safety.


Willow Road is fortunate to have several mature trees, but again poor maintenance has resulted in a hazardous situation with protruding roots posing a risk to pedestrians, particularly the elderly and children attending local schools. As with cracked pavements, these roots are a trip hazard for pedestrians, potentially leading to accidents and injuries. The problem of protruding tree roots can be exacerbated by soil erosion, which exposes more of the roots and makes them more dangerous. While there has been some piecemeal repairs to surfaces around some of the trees, such minimal interventions simply add to the unattractive look of the road as they result in a variety of surfaces (slabs, tarmac) along the length of the road.


There are several vintage cast iron lamp posts along the length of the road, but these are also in a very poor state of repair, with chipped and rusting supports. If properly maintained these could be an attractive feature of the environment. Sadly, rusting lampposts detract from the aesthetic appeal of the road, which can have a negative impact on the community’s morale and sense of well-being.

Improving the appearance of an area is not just to make people feel good living in or visiting the area, although this is important. It also has an impact by making the area healthier, safer, and cleaner.

Residents of Willow Road are keen to see improvements to their area, including road resurfacing, levelling and resurfacing of footpaths, repair of broken slabs, maintenance of lamp posts, etc.


Currently, the road has a rather dilapidated look and feel, primarily because of the poor level of environmental maintenance over recent years. The presence of cracked surfaces, protruding tree roots, trip hazards, and rusting lamp posts is a testament to the road’s poor condition and the need for immediate action. To ensure the safety and well-being of the community, it is imperative that the council take the necessary steps to address these problems and improve the quality of Willow Road.

We call on Bedford Borough Council to engage with our concerns and to communicate to residents’ proposals on how they plan to resolve our concerns. Previously, when residents have raised their concerns, the local authority has cited a lack of budget. We regard such statements as unacceptable, particularly when we see considerable expenditure on similar issues (arguable less urgent than in Willow Road and adjoining streets) elsewhere in the borough over the last several years and as recently as 2022.

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