Bedford High Street Renewal

Bedford Borough Council wanted to invigorate the commercial activity along Bedford High Street, and restore or reinstate traditional shopfronts and historic architectural features. They successfully applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s national Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) programme. The Lottery Grant, along with local public funding, and private investment stimulated by the initiative, led to the restoration of 16 properties.

GHA’s work on the High Street started with no. 82. We designed and detailed the restoration of this Listed shopfront using archive photos of the building, whilst accommodating some unfortunately irreversible 20th century structural alterations. The reinstatement of the shopfront and the establishment of Coffee with Art as a destination coffee shop has contributed to the vibrancy of Bedford High Street.

Lenwell Property, an established regional lettings agency based at no. 103 then approached GHA to carry out similar work. Although not eligible for THI grant funding, Lenwell Property wished to contribute to the aims of the initiative. Lenwell’s new shopfront reinstates lost architectural features including natural stone attached-columns and a painted timber entablature. GHA worked closely with the builder to ensure the use of appropriate techniques and traditional materials sympathetic to the original fabric.

The overall result enhances the street scene and contributes significantly to the Council’s aim of bringing life back to the High Street.