Council given £80k to make Bedford High Street more attractive

Grant will also help create community-led cultural activities too

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 10:40 am

The council has been awarded an £80,000 grant from Historic England to make Bedford High Street more attractive and create community-led cultural activities.

The cash has been delivered as part of the Bedford High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) Cultural Programme, which is being delivered by the HAZ Cultural Consortium and supported by Bedford BID and SEMLEP.

Bedford Borough Council aims to transform visitors’ experience and draw attention to the hidden treasures of Bedford’s heritage as part of the cultural programme.

Bedford High Street

It will start with a pilot scheme – The Vault, which aims to tell the story of a hidden bank vault beneath the bank site at the junction of High Street and the Embankment. The pilot scheme will be revealed on the spring bank holiday.

Councillor Henry Vann, portfolio holder for town centres and planning, said: “It is fantastic that Bedford is set to receive yet more funding for the HSHAZ Cultural Programme to support our town centre.

"This scheme will help us all celebrate the rich heritage of our public spaces, highlight the local stories of our historic market town and foster a sense of civic pride among the local community."

Christina Rowe, director of operations for Bedford BID, said: “We believe that the four-year programme of the HSHAZ will not only provide community engagement and cultural activities to help deliver a strong and vibrant town centre, but will also provide further physical improvements to restore the presentation of historic buildings."

Tony Calladine, regional director for Historic England in the East of England, said: “The high street cultural programme is a step change in the way we think about bringing high streets back from the brink.”

Caroline Dinenage MP, Culture Minister, said: "High streets are often the heart of our communities and should be places we all want to engage with and enjoy. These grants will help transform high streets into thriving cultural hubs, encouraging us to embrace all the joys our town centres have to offer."