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
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