High Street Culture
Find out what’s coming up in our four-year programme of cultural activity across England's High Streets Heritage Action Zones, continuing until 2024.
Bedford High Street Heritage Action Zone aims to enhance the Bedford Conservation Area, reducing the impact of traffic and improving the local environment.
It aspires to increase economic activity in the High Street and create heritage, cultural and community engagement activities in this area.
Bedford High Street is in the late Saxon/Medieval settlement of the town and is of considerable archaeological significance. It retains the architectural character of a prosperous market town and is enclosed by a close-knit range of fine, mainly 18th and 19th century three storey buildings with narrow facades, attractive irregular rooflines and long burgage plots which are a reflection of their medieval origins. A one-way street, it contains 14 listed buildings.
Bedford town centre faces a decline in footfall combined with the closure of national stores and a negative perception of community safety. The highest level of unemployment in the borough is in Castle Ward, where the High Street is located. Major roads and high volumes of traffic pass through the town. Bedford town centre lacks civic areas and open public spaces and reconfiguring historic buildings is a challenge.
The Bedford High Street Heritage Action Zone will reinstate the high street as one of the architectural high points of the town, revealing and enhancing historic features on buildings and realising the town's potential through an improved and more inviting environment for shoppers and visitors. It will reduce traffic and bring back a sense of community to the High Street.
Below you can find just some of the progress being made in the Bedford High Street Heritage Action Zone. For more, follow us on Twitter @HistoricEngland.
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