Independent businesses at heart of Bedford Town Centre’s survival

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Bedford's Old Arcade
Visitors to the Edwardian Arcade in Bedford can park in the short-term bays to visit many of Bedford's independent shops

Bedford town centre is experiencing a surge in retail activity, with an increasing number of local independent businesses helping to create a vibrant shopping scene.

Commercial property consultants, Kirkby Diamond, have revealed that their agency team has successfully completed 27 sales or lettings of retail properties in the main shopping areas over the past year, indicating a strong demand for retail space.

Despite the departure of major retailers like Debenhams and Beales, Nathan George, head of agency and office in Bedford, remains optimistic about the future of the town’s retail environment.

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He believes that the thriving local independent businesses bring vibrancy to the town centre and that Bedford is becoming a popular location for new and growing businesses.

“It’s always the negative stories that tend to dominate people’s attention,” he said.

“Yes, the likes of Debenhams and Beales have left the town leaving large voids, and other national retailers have moved out too, but local independent businesses continue to thrive, bringing vibrancy to the town centre.

“We are speaking to new and growing businesses on a weekly basis and Bedford is firmly on their list of locations to trade from.”

The recent lettings by Kirkby Diamond have brought new tenants to the town, with a wedding retailer taking up space at the former Bath Store unit on 23-27 High Street.

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Meanwhile, a bubble tea operator and a pizza franchise have moved into 19 and 21 Harpur Street, respectively, and 13 High Street has been let as a convenience store.

The Arcade has also seen an influx of new businesses, including beauticians, clothing retailers, and recruitment companies.

Looking forward, Kirkby Diamond’s retail and office specialists are well-placed to advise on the acquisition or disposal of any town centre properties.

It remains to be seen how the town centre will continue to evolve over the next 12 months, but the success of local independent businesses suggests that Bedford’s retail scene is thriving.

The list in full

  • 12 & 12A Allhallows SOLD
  • 44 Allhallows SOLD
  • 48 Allhallows & 50, 52 & 54 St Loyes Street SOLD
  • 56 St Loyes Street SOLD
  • Tavistock Yard, Tavistock Street LET
  • 23 – 27 High Street, Bedford LET
  • 57 High Street, Bedford LET
  • 24 St. Loyes Street, Bedford LET
  • 16 The Arcade, Bedford LET
  • 3B Riverside North, Horne Lane, Bedford LET
  • 13 Mill Street, Bedford SOLD
  • Clair Court, Lime Street SOLD
  • 19 Harpur Street LET
  • 21 Harpur Street LET
  • 18 Church Arcade LET
  • 6 The Arcade LET
  • 13 Silver Street, Bedford LET
  • 18 The Arcade LET
  • 5B Market Hall, The Arcade LET
  • 5C Market Hall, The Arcade LET
  • Unit 9 Church Arcade LET
  • Unit 10 Church Arcade LET
  • 40 The Broadway LET
  • Unit 8 Church Arcade LET
  • 20 The Arcade LET
  • 75 Harpur Street, Bedford LET
  • 13 High Street, Bedford LET