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Central Bedfordshire is a unitary authority in the ceremonial county of Bedfordshire, Englandmarker. It was created from the merger of Mid Bedfordshiremarker and South Bedfordshire on 1 April 2009. In addition to taking over the powers of the two district councils, it has also taken over the powers previously exercised by Bedfordshire County Council in the two districts.

Administrative history

Since 1974, Bedfordshire had been governed as a shire county, mostly under the control of Bedfordshire County Council. It was divided into three local government districts, Bedford Boroughmarker, Mid Bedfordshire, and South Bedfordshire. Luton Boroughmarker became a unitary authority in 1997.

In 2006 the Department for Communities and Local Governmentmarker considered reorganising Bedfordshire's administrative structure as part of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England. The four proposals considered were:

  • Proposal 1, To abolish the three districts within the county to create a Bedfordshire unitary authority. (Luton would remain a separate unitary authority.)
  • Proposal 2, To create two unitary authorities: one based on the existing Bedford Borough, and the other, to be known as Central Bedfordshire, a combination of Mid Bedfordshire and South Bedfordshire Districts. (Luton would remain a separate unitary authority.)
  • Proposal 3, To create two unitary authorities: one a combination of Bedford Borough and Mid Bedfordshire District, and one a combination of Luton Borough and South Bedfordshire District.
  • Proposal 4, To form an "enhanced two-tier" authority, with the four local councils under the control of the county council, but with different responsibilities.

On 6 March 2008 the DCLG decided to implement Proposal 2. This meant that from 1 April 2009 there would be three unitary authorities in Bedfordshire - Bedford, Luton and the new Central Bedfordshire. Bedfordshire County Council initially challenged this decision in the High Court, but on 4 April 2008 it was announced the Judicial Review in the High Court had been unsuccessful, and the County Council declared they would not be appealing the decision.

Subsequently, a shadow council for Central Bedfordshire was formed from all the members of Mid Bedfordshire and South Bedfordshire councils, as well as all Bedfordshire County Council members from the Central Bedfordshire area. The inaugural meeting of the shadow council was held on 10 April 2008. A shadow Executive for the council was also formed consisting of 4 members of each council. The shadow Executive (and council) were led by Tricia Turner (former leader of Mid Bedfordshire District).


The first elections were held to the new Central Bedfordshire Council on 4 June 2009.

Central Bedfordshire has 66 members, giving a ratio of 2,857 electors for each councillor. Two members were elected in each of the old county council wards lying within the Central Bedfordshire boundary (four members were elected in existing two-member wards).

Year Conservative Labour Liberal Democrat Independent Other Control
2009 54 0 11 1 0 Conservative win
The council is led by Tricia Turner, who was the last leader of the former Mid Bedfordshire Council, as well being the shadow leader of the new Central Bedfordshire Council during its transition stage.

Towns and villages

Unitary authorities in Bedfordshire.
Central Bedfordshire is number 2
The Central Bedfordshire area includes the following towns and villages which were previously located in Mid and South Bedfordshire. Central Bedfordshire is an area of mostly small towns and villages with little urbanisation. However, the towns of Dunstable and Houghton Regismarker form part of the Bedfordshire's largest conurbation with neighbours Lutonmarker.

See also


  1. Bedfordshire County Council - The proposal
  2. Communities and Local Government - Proposals for future unitary structures: Stakeholder consultation
  3. Bedfordshire County Council: High Court backs two unitary authorities for Bedfordshire
  4. County Council Fails In Legal Challenge To Unitary Status
  5. Unitary solution confirmed for Bedfordshire - New flagship unitary councils approved for Cheshire - Corporate - Communities and Local Government
  6. County council to be abolished in shake-up - Bedford Today
  7. First steps towards creating Central Beds Council - Bedford Today (10/04/08)
  8. Elections page on Central Bedfordshire Website

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