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Universal Studios Seeks Bedford Residents’ Input for Theme Park Celebrating Town’s Heritage


Universal Studios surprised residents of Bedford by announcing their town would be the site for its first theme park in Europe. Now, the entertainment giant is reaching out to Bedford residents for their input on how to design a resort that honours the town’s vibrant history and culture.

While the specific aspects of Bedford’s “vibrant history” remain to be clarified, potential themes could include the town’s 18th-century lace industry and its association with John Bunyan during his imprisonment in Bedford Gaol, where he wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress.

NBC Universal, releasing details of the park’s development, expressed interest in incorporating elements of Bedford’s history into select food and drink facilities and attractions. The consultation document hints at using bricks from the site’s former brickworks in the park’s buildings, paying homage to the town’s industrial past.

While specific attractions are yet to be revealed, Universal Studios’ other parks offer experiences ranging from encounters with velociraptors to adventures inspired by popular franchises like Jurassic Park, Jaws, and The Simpsons.

The proposed park, potentially spanning up to 700 acres, promises to blend seamlessly into the surrounding landscape, with minimal light and sound pollution. Universal Studios pledges support for local wildlife sites and the planting of thousands of trees along the park’s perimeter.

In addition to offering a unique entertainment experience, the park is expected to create thousands of jobs, primarily benefiting residents of Bedford, Luton, and Milton Keynes. Plans include limiting building heights to 75m while allowing rides to reach up to 115m.

While the proposal holds promise for economic growth and tourism, residents have until May 3 to influence the project by filling in a questionnaire to influence the project’s development. The prospect of a theme park in Bedford has sparked surprise and intrigue among locals, offering potential alongside the town’s current attractions, including a pick-your-own chilli tunnel and the Panacea Museum.

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