Scaffolding has been raised and work has begun to restore the heritage of buildings in Bedford Town Centre as part of the Borough Council’s High Street Heritage Action Zone, supported by Historic England.
The first building to be treated to a facelift is the Blue Monk building at 19-21 High Street, which will have its façade, columns and historical features restored.
Cllr Henry Vann (LibDems, De Parys Ward), 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.”
Funding for the project is from a nation-wide £95 million government-funded programme.
Bedford was awarded £1.76m from the fund to encourage more people to visit the town centre
Work will also be carried out on 58 A, B and C High Street, the buildings on the northern side of Silver Street Square, to help create space for new start-up independents.
New shopfronts will be installed to improve the look of the premises, alongside the creation of two additional smaller retail units in this property on the newly refurbished Silver Street Square.
107 High Street, the former Goldings building, will also see a new traditional shop front, alongside conservation repairs that will re-install lost architectural features on the outside of the property.
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.”
The Higgins Bedford is also taking part in the works and inviting children and young people to colour in their very own paper version of Bedford High Street on 17-18 February.
To book a workshop, visit the Higgins Bedford website.