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You are here: Home Page > Council and Democracy > Council News > Archived News > April 2013 > THI scheme issues grants

High Street properties to be restored to former glory

Works are now underway on Bedford's High Street as part of the Townscape Heritage Initiative scheme.

 

The property, 123-125 High Street, houses ‘Rajkot’, an Indian Tapas restaurant, ‘Newsfayre’ and a local cab firm, Anglia Cars. The scheme involves an extensive programme of repairs and restoration of the traditional shopfront, using evidence from historic photographs of the building.

 

The THI grant money and the owners’ contribution will be used in the process. The vacant upper floors of the property will also be given a new lease of life as a student residence, with one of the best views in town of the John Bunyan statue.

 

The Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “Through the THI scheme we want to do all we can to make a positive difference to our High Street, so we are delighted that this particular property at its northern gateway has come forward. These works will enhance the visual impact of the properties, and represent the first of a number of projects which will draw on the High Street’s heritage to make it a more attractive, vibrant area for people to enjoy.”

 

The owners have appointed local businesses to produce the designs and undertake the building works. The project will also benefit construction students at Bedford College, who will be offered work placements by the contractor.

 

The property is all that is left of a row of almshouses, known as Duke’s Row, built around 1800. The building became a shop in 1891, and over the years has been used by businesses to sell pianos, books and to make hats.

 

Mr Samat Lakha, co-owner of the property, said: “It is kind to be given the opportunity to put the property back to the way it was, as I really believe in the historic features of the building. I encourage others on High Street to join the project, as it will greatly benefit both High Street businesses and the people of Bedford. We are grateful to the THI Team and our agent, Simic Associates, for working with us to put together our grant application. The market brought back people to St. Paul’s Square, and now I believe this refurbishment will help bring people back to the High Street.”

 

With the neighbouring Reels Amusement Arcade also having secured grant funding, watch this space throughout 2013 for further improvements for Bedford High Street through the THI Scheme.

 

Further information on the Townscape Heritage Initiative

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