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Celebrating A Major High Street Success Story!

December 19, 2016 6:21 PM

Coffee With ArtThere was a celebratory event this month to mark the completion of the 'Townscape Heritage Initiative' (THI) Project. The project launched in September 2011 with an aim to offer grants to improve traditional properties that were either derelict, in poor repair and/or vacant.

The project has made vast improvements to 16 properties in total within the High Street and St Paul's Square area and this, along with town centre events, has helped to further increased footfall figures; with this year's October numbers being the highest for 6 years.

The project, led by Bedford Borough Council, delivered £5m of investment into heritage buildings and initiatives in the High Street area, helping transform its future. Using funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Bedford Borough Council and BedfordBID, the project levered £3m of private sector investment from property owners and tenants to refurbish 16 properties; creating new shopfronts, 36 new homes and bringing 33,000 sq ft of vacant space back into use, bringing a new vibrancy to the area.

The Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: "The 'before and after' photos tell the story of what a dramatic difference this project has made to Bedford High Street. The funding from the partners involved has in turn levered in millions of pounds of external investment in the High Street, transforming a long list of properties for the better. Every project has enhanced and in some cases revealed the rich heritage of the High Street, while also helping to bring new life back to some previously long-derelict properties. The project has really improved the look and feel of the High Street, while the works have made another major contribution to our vision of a town centre which is attractive in its own right, for retail and also much more."

If you would like more details on the THI project's accomplishments visit www.bedford.gov.uk (and search for 'THI').