Iconic site on High Street may be restored in plans to include homes

Penny Fletcher outside the former Porter Blacks building in Bedford.
Penny Fletcher outside the former Porter Blacks building in Bedford.

A landmark building in Bedford which has been empty for the past decade is set to be restored.

The abandoned former Porter Blacks site on the corner of Bedford High Street and Dame Alice Street is to re-emerge as a significant site in the town centre. Simic Associates have submitted a planning application to develop the Victorian building at 100 High Street. Their proposals include a ground floor and basement bar and lounge, three first-floor residential flats, and a new second floor restaurant and terrace.

The historic edifce built in 1898 is a two and a half-storey construction located within a conservation area with the nearby almshouses and John Buynan statue opposite being listed structures.

Penny Fletcher, Labour mayoral candidate said: “This once beautiful building has been boarded up for far too long. It has been a blight on the High Street. I look forward to seeing its frontage restored and coming back into use, both as a business and in providing new homes. It has the potential to bring life back into the High Street and help the town centre economy. It’s essential this prestigious site is brought back into use in a way which harnesses the attractive qualities of the original building whilst bringing business to the centre of town.”

The plans will go before the planning committee on Monday, August 18, and can be viewed online via the Bedford borough website:


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