|— unitary authority and borough —|
|Region||East of England|
|• Type||unitary authority|
|• Governing body||Bedford Borough Council|
|• Executive mayor||Dave Hodgson
|• MPs||Alistair Burt (C)
Nadine Dorries (C)
Richard Fuller (C)
|• Total||476.4 km2 (183.9 sq mi)|
|Population 2011 est.|
|• Total||157,800 Ranked 116th|
|• Density||331/km2 (860/sq mi)|
|• Ethnicity||85.5% White
1.3% Chinese or other
|• Summer (DST)||British Summer Time (UTC)|
Bedford is a unitary authority with the status of a borough in the ceremonial county of Bedfordshire, England. Its council is based at Bedford, which is also the county town of Bedfordshire. The borough contains one large urban area, the 71st largest in the United Kingdom that comprises Bedford and the adjacent town of Kempston, surrounded by a rural area with many villages. 75% of the borough's population live in the Bedford Urban Area and the five large villages which surround it, which makes up slightly less than 6% of the total land area of the Borough.
The District of Bedford was formed on 1 April 1974 as a merger of the existing borough of Bedford, along with Kempston urban district and Bedford Rural District. In 1975 the district was granted a royal charter granting borough status as North Bedfordshire. The borough was renamed as Borough of Bedford in 1992. Over half of the former municipal borough of Bedford is unparished, however Brickhill is a parish, and Queens Park as well as Cauldwell & Kingsbrook elect their own urban community councils who have similar functions to parish councils. The rest of the district including Kempston is parished.
The Department for Communities and Local Government have reorganised Bedfordshire's administrative structure as part of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England, meaning that Bedford Borough Council became a unitary authority in April 2009. This means Bedford Borough has assumed responsibility in areas such as education, social services and transport which were previously provided by Bedfordshire County Council.
Council and cabinet 
The first elections for the new unitary Bedford Borough Council were held on 4 June 2009 when 36 councillors in addition to the mayor were elected. Since an electoral review which came in to effect for the local elections in 2011, Bedford Borough has had 40 councillors in addition to the mayor.
|2009 ||9||7||13||7||0||No overall control|
|2011 ||12||12||12||4||0||No overall control|
Since the 2011 elections, Bedford Borough Council’s executive committee (cabinet) is headed by the mayor and includes 9 members from the Liberal Democrat, Labour, Conservative and Independent groups, only one Independent Member sits in opposition. From 2009 to 2011, Independents were included in the executive committee, while Conservative members sat in opposition on the council.
Wards and civil parishes 
|Ward name||Population (2009 estimate)||Percentage from minority groups |
|Kempston Central and East||7,500||23%|
The wards and constituent civil parishes in the rural part of the borough are as follows:
|Ward name||Civil Parishes||Population (2009 estimate)||Percentage from minority groups |
|Biddenham & Bromham||7,460||9%|
See also 
- "Table 8a Mid-2011 Population Estimates: Selected age groups for local authorities in England and Wales; estimated resident population;". Population Estimates for England and Wales, Mid 2011 (Census Based). Office for National Statistics. 2012-09-25. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
- Unitary solution confirmed for Bedfordshire - New flagship unitary councils approved for Cheshire - Corporate - Communities and Local Government
- County council to be abolished in shake-up - Bedford Today
- "Lib Dem win in mayoral election". BBC News. 2009-10-16.