Works have begun on restoring and improving properties on Bedford’s High Street as part of the Borough Council’s High Street Heritage Action Zone, supported by Historic England.
Scaffolding is up and conservation work has begun on the façade, columns and historical features of 19-21 High Street (the Blue Monk building).
Works are also expected to start in February on 58 A, B and C High Street, the buildings on the northern side of Silver Street Square. These improvements will include the installation of new shopfronts to improve the look of the premises, alongside the creation of two additional smaller retail unitsin this property on the newly refurbished Silver Street Square. This is expected to restore the ground floor to its former glory and create new start-up space for Bedford’s fantastic independents.
The third property scheduled to start soon is 107 High Street, the former Goldings building. Improvements will include a new traditional shop front, alongside conservation repairs that will re-install lost architectural features on the outside of the property.
Cllr Henry Vann, Portfolio Holder for Town Centres and Planning, said: “Work has begun – to see the scaffolding go up and improvements begin to our beautiful High Street is brilliant. It’s an exciting milestone in this project which will see our historic environment preserved, and which will help to bring new life to the properties on Bedford High Street.
“A huge thanks must go to everyone who has tirelessly worked to get us this far and we’re grateful to the building owners, residents, shoppers, visitors and of course Historic England and our partner organisations who have helped bring us to this point.”
Hilary Chipping, Chief Executive of SEMLEP, said: “The restoration of the historic shop fronts on the beautiful High Street of Bedford will encourage people to come back into the centre and enjoy the many social and retail opportunities and support local businesses.”
Tony Calladine, East of England Regional Director, Historic England said: “It’s wonderful to see work beginning on the restoration of Bedford’s characterful shopfronts. I’m looking forward to seeing the renovated shop features add to the vibrancy of Bedford’s High Street for residents and visitors alike. I’m delighted that the revitalisation of these historic properties will benefit existing business, enable the start-up of innovative organisations, and generally help to bring new life to the high street.”
To celebrate the works beginning, The Higgins Bedford is inviting children and young people to colour in their very own paper version of Bedford High Street at their Half-term workshops on 17 and 18 February 2022. To book onto a workshop, visit www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk/Book_Online/