From today (Monday), Historic England is starting a conversation with the nation about what the future of the UK’s high streets could be as town centres face the most drastic changes in living memory.
Bedford is among 60 historic high streets that have received government funding as part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone scheme (HSHAZ).
In Bedford, Historic England is working with local partners to transform and restore disused and dilapidated buildings into new homes, shops, workplaces and community spaces, restoring local historic character and improving public realm.
And with research showing that 92% of people care what their high street looks like and 90% agree that it’s worth trying to save historic features when trying to improve local places, it’s important to find out what Bedfordians love about their high street.
Is it memories of where you bought your first LP, where you go to meet friends and family, where you used to work or is it the High Street’s beautiful architecture that inspires you?
Those stories will come together to build a national picture of what makes high streets so special and to learn what matters most when it comes to their future.
From today you can share what you love about Bedford High Street via social media using #HighStreetLove in a week of celebration about treasured local places.
The results will provide insight into what the nation loves and wants more of from our high streets, which are often the historic centre of communities.
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: “Throughout history high streets have been our gathering places; centres of commerce, conversation and community.
“They help make where we live unique and special. Nearly half of all high streets were built before 1919. They are one of the most visited and enjoyed types of heritage in the country, a connection to our past and a key to our future.
“We know they are struggling, and their future is uncertain, and we think this is a timely moment to ask people about their future and consider the part we can all play in supporting these important places.”