Heritage project to help bring symbolic property into use

Published on 30 September 2015

The long-derelict former Porter Blacks building on the corner of Bedford’s High Street and Dame Alice Street is among three more properties set to be transformed with help from a BID sponsored regeneration scheme.  The owners of the former Porter Blacks at 100 High Street, Sira Building and Development Limited, have formally accepted a grant offer from the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), a partnership project to revitalise the High Street environment and to protect and promote its heritage.  The grant funding will be used to help reinstate the grand shop front and ensure this important gateway property is once again occupied.

Owners of 100 High Street, Sandeep and Sharan Sira, said: “We are extremely excited about the project and cannot wait to get started, with the help of the Council and the THI team, we’re feeling extremely grateful.”

The Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “The old Porter Blacks building stood empty for over a decade, even during so-called ‘boom’ years. The sight of the boarded-up property in such a prominent location was seen as symbolic in the past, but its renovation and reopening is equally symbolic of the regeneration which is now taking place, supported by our THI scheme. Along with the two other nearby properties at that end of the High Street now entering the scheme, this work will have a major impact in improving the look and feel of the area, as well as supporting local trade.”

The building’s neighbour, 98 High Street, has also been offered a THI grant to help reinstate its traditional shop front and undertake exterior repairs, to help bring the property back into use after sitting empty for a number of years.

80A High Street, Kebabs at Millennium, is also looking forward to works starting on site, having recently accepted a grant offer. The project will reinstate the traditional shop front, restore the façade and secure a number of key structural repairs. The property is Grade II listed and believed to be the oldest building still standing on High Street, however its appearance has been eroded over the years and its future now has to be secured.

It is hoped that all of these projects will be starting on site in the next few months.

For more information on successfully completed THI projects visit www.bedford.gov.uk/bedfordhighstreet

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