Transformation continues of Bedford’s High Street Heritage Action Zone

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The transformation of buildings in Bedford town centre as part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) is gathering pace, as the latest progress on the High Street and Silver Street is unveiled.

58a-c High Street, which includes Sundaes Gelato and two previously vacant units (Mr Simms Sweetshop and a phone repair shop), has been uplifted with the reinstatement of traditional black granite shopfronts, bespoke lanterns and awnings.

The two shops on Silver Street have been designed so that they can each be split into two smaller units.

Responding to the changing retail landscape, what was previously four retail spaces now has the potential to house six different businesses in smaller more flexible units to support Bedford’s outstanding independent sector.

A similar initiative has seen the former Waterstones store split into two and large units in the Edwardian Arcade split up to create smaller shops which qualify for business rate relief – making them more appealing to independent businesses.

One of the smaller units

The newly renovated units look onto Silver Street Square which has also undergone improvement work as part of the recent High Street regeneration.

In a statement, Bedford Borough Council confirmed: “Bespoke lanterns with intricate detailing will be positioned along the front of the building, which match the bronze handles fitted to the doors.

“In keeping with the original design, traditional awnings are also being installed above the newly-glazed windows. On the Sundae’s part of the property, the upper sections of the windows will also feature red glazing as a nod to the popular colour scheme that many associate with this well-loved dessert restaurant.”

Councillor Henry Vann, Portfolio Holder Town Centres and Planning, said, “Fantastic progress is being made on the reinvigorated Silver Street Square, with these new units and a boosted shopfront for the wonderful Sundaes Gelato. This is a prime piece of real estate, located on the corner of Bedford High Street and Silver Square, and is a great next step for the HSHAZ scheme.

“I am, as I’m sure many other residents are, really looking forward to seeing the finished article and with more on the way.”

Christina Rowe, Director of BedfordBID, said, “The quality of the workmanship and flexibility of these new sized units in this area will be a welcomed addition to this location and town centre generally along with the arrival of new start-ups.”

Property owners on Bedford High Street can still sign-up to take part in the scheme by emailing Jessica Mittler, HSHAZ Project Manager, for an informal conversation: jessica.mittler@bedford.gov.uk.