Plans to improve historic shopping arcade dubbed Bedford’s ‘jewel in the crown’

MBTC Bedford Arcade
MBTC Bedford Arcade

Plans to improve Bedford’s historic shopping Arcade, dubbed a ‘Crystal Palace’ when it opened in 1905, have been unveiled.

The work will include creating new kiosk-style units and opening up further first floor office space.

The scheme comes on the back of the opening, in September, of Riverside Bedford, a £36 million destination development including restaurants, cinema and hotel.

Nathan George, spokesman for commercial property agent Kirkby Diamond,said: “The Arcade is a real jewel in Bedford’s retail crown - that had been buoyed by the opening in September of Riverside Bedford.

“Not only is it meticulously maintained and managed, it also offers a unique and calming shopping experience away from the busy traffic of the High Street.”

He added “Bedford town centre had seen an increase in footfall, bucking the national trend. According to the Bedford Borough Council quarterly town centre performance report for July-September 2017, footfall rose by almost 7%, which is the best quarterly result since 2015.”

He said Kirkby Diamond was marketing the new arcade lets following the successful lets of 14 new town centre units over the past 12 months.

“We are very pleased that our track record in marketing retail premises has enabled us to have the opportunity to work with Granby Martin to attract new tenants to this elegant and charming destination and are particularly looking forward to bringing forward the exciting plans for 2018,” added Nathan.

The Arcade currently has 21 retail units, many of which are taken by local independents. Its newest occupiers include Slide Record Shop, an independent record shop and Magic Garden, a specialist independent florist.

As well as introducing new tenants, The Arcade has also seen the successful expansion of two existing tenants: Seventh Heaven, the largest sugar school and bespoke cake company in Bedfordshire, which has now occupies a double unit, and Boutique Planet, one of The Arcade’s longest-standing tenants of over 20 years, which has moved in to a larger and newly refurbished unit.

For details about retail opportunities at The Arcade, contact Nathan George: Nathan.george@kirkbydiamond.co.uk, telephone 01234 905134, or Michael Ruggiero, michael.ruggiero@kirkbydiamond.co.uk, telephone 01234 905133.