Bedford businesses to boom from £1million council investment

Example of high street improvement
Example of high street improvement

Bedford high street businesses could win £1million worth of improvements.

High street businesses including Ampthill, Flitwick and Shefford are being encouraged to apply for a share of £1million to make improvements to shops, which will help with the long-term success of the town centres.

Applications for funding can be made through the High Street Improvement Scheme, which was launched this week by Central Bedfordshire Council.

The scheme is in partnership with town councils and offers funding to support businesses to modernise their shop fronts, upper floors and forecourts, while keeping the character of individual buildings.

​Applications for the grants will be received in three rounds with deadlines in September, November and February.

Successful applicants will receive a grant of 60 per cent of the total cost of the work to carry out improvements, with the remaining 40 per cent coming from private sector and other public sector sources.

​Funding will be available to independent businesses and landlords with properties in Central Bedfordshire’s 11 market towns.

​Councillor Nigel Young, executive member for regeneration at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “The High Street Improvement Scheme is an exciting new initiative that provides significant opportunities to improve our market towns at a time when very few other authorities are investing in town centres.

“By setting aside £1million for this scheme, we have responded to the needs of town councils and local businesses, many of whom wish to enhance their high streets and improve the shopping experience in their market towns.

​“Clean and well-presented buildings, including shops, make an area more welcoming, improve its image, contribute towards a stronger sense of identity and can often encourage a greater number of shopping visits.

“We are pleased to be working in partnership with town councils to help these important retail locations to thrive and grow and further contribute to making Central Bedfordshire and great place to live and work.”

​The scheme is part of the Market Town Regeneration Fund, where Central Bedfordshire Council approved 8 bids for initiatives including Ampthill, Flitwick and Shefford - totalling a fund of around £2.5 million.

​For more information about the High Street Improvement Scheme and how to apply, visit the website www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/market-towns.