Local businesses have welcomed the latest phase of High Street improvement works which began on the east side of St Paul’s Square on Sunday (19 September).
Following consultation with businesses and restaurants in the area, it was agreed that this stage of works would be carried out overnight – from 8pm until 5am – to minimise disruption during trading hours.
It is expected that night works will be complete by the end of October.
Joseph Lionetti, of La Piazza in St Paul’s Square, told the Bedford Independent that they are 100% behind the improvements being made and that the changes reflect the evolution of town centres.
“The changes being made are great for the town centre; there will be more areas for outside seating at cafes and restaurants and it will be safer with fewer lorries driving down the High Street.
“The vibe that has been created so successfully in Riverside Square is now spreading to other parts of the town. Town centres are changing and there are fewer office buildings and more people are choosing to live in urban areas. Bedford is adapting to this new way of living, eating, working and shopping.”
During the works, the pavement will be widened creating more space for pedestrians, shoppers and visitors to St Paul’s Square.
Infrastructure works will also be carried out with new traffic signals being installed. The widened footpath will also be finished with the York stone paving now in place on the High Street, creating a cohesive look across this area of the town centre.
Cllr Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for Highways said: “We recognise that overnight works may cause some noise disturbance overnight, and we apologise for that.
“The Council and our contractor on this project, Henderson and Taylor, have done a letter drop to all businesses and residents providing information and out of hours contact details, and the noisiest elements such as slab cutting will be done before midnight and behind an enclosed zone to reduce the noise.
“So while you won’t see anyone on site during the day, please be reassured we are still working hard to get this exciting and important project complete.
The work is part of the Transporting Bedford project that has delivered a single lane High Street, upgraded pavements with York stone, new trees and a more attractive street scene.
“We are seeing investment in our town centre through a number of different schemes including this, the Heritage Action Zone, and the Town Deal, looking ahead to the future of our town,” said Cllr Royden.