Spring clean for the high streets in Chronicle country

Popular local food and drink establishments are among seven shops and businesses across Biggleswade, Sandy, Potton and Shefford that have had facelifts.

The improvements are nearly £190,000 as part of Central Bedfordshire Council’s £1million High Street Improvement Scheme.

The grants have been given to 21 shops and businesses across seven townsin the borough

The project offered funding to landlords and independent businesses for up to 60 per cent of the total costs of renovating their shop fronts, outside eating areas and forecourts to attract more shoppers and visitors back onto the High Street.

The biggest beneficiaries in Chronicle country were Sandy’s Il Pecoro restaurant; The Surfin’ Café in Biggleswade; and The White Hart Inn at the Shefford crossroads.

Il Pecoro’s outside terrace was transformed to increase the restaurant’s capacity by 100 per cent, allowing the owners to meet customer demand, particularly at the weekends.

The Surfin’ Café, which has a prominent position in Biggleswade town centre, has been completely revamped.

The White Hart Inn is an iconic Grade 2 listed building which is in a key location but had become rundown and had been vacant for three years. The refurb included windows, doors, lights, signs, roof and full decoration of the front and side. It reopened to customers ahead of Christmas.

In Potton, the grants were given to Potton Food Store, Clayton’s Butchers and Cameron’s Newsagents; while Biggleswade’s Clear Vision and the dentists and the Paper Shop in Shefford have also been given a makeover.

Councillor Nigel Young, Executive Member for Business and Regeneration at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “We’ve helped to ensure the long-term economic success of town centres by giving our High Streets a facelift. There are increasing pressures on High Streets across Britain. As a council, we feel it’s important to support and rejuvenate our town centres, as they are at the very heart of the community. They are where residents go to meet friends and family, and to get the goods and services they need. And of course, local businesses mean local jobs.

“This project was another example of our area-wide push to rejuvenate and revitalise the hearts of our communities, and is part of our £4million Market Town Regeneration Fund. We are committed to revitalising our market towns, so we were delighted that our High Street Improvement Scheme has helped these local independent businesses stand out more and entice customers. If we can make town centres more attractive, it can boost the vibrancy of the area.”