Site barriers are ‘hitting shop trade’

Essential Apppliances in Bedford say trade has dropped since work started on building the new bus station. Pictured is worker Mike Sharpe.
Essential Apppliances in Bedford say trade has dropped since work started on building the new bus station. Pictured is worker Mike Sharpe.

The owner of a white goods shop says he’s losing thousands of pounds every week due to the disruption caused by the multi-million pound project to rebuild Bedford’s bus station.

Barriers mean much of the window display at Essential Appliances in Allhallows is obscured and an alleyway that drives footfall into the store has been shut off.

Owner Garry Lundgren said: “We were taking between £4,000 and £5,000 a week and now we are taking about £1,200.”

He said the shop, which sells new, second-hand and reconditioned white goods, relies heavily on its window display to draw in customers.

Bedford Borough Council is spending £8.8 million to improve the gateway into Bedford town centre.

The shop’s lease runs out this year and Garry said they’ve been told by the council, which owns the building, that they may have to move.

A Bedford Borough Council spokesman said: “Bedford Borough Council is able to confirm that Bedford Borough Council purchased numbers 14 to 28 Allhallows on the open market in 2014 as part of a wider regeneration programme. Since this time, the council as landlord has been in touch with all tenants regarding estate management issues and is working with the tenants to improve the area.

“The restoration and improvement of the properties along Allhallows began in 2014 to coincide with the building works taking place for Bedford’s new bus station, which is due to open at the end of February. As part of this project, the council have ensured the safety of pedestrians and other road users by closing an alleyway near to the site.”