Work's started on 1-4 St Pauls Square

Published on 30 September 2014

Work is well underway to restore derelict buildings on St Paul’s Square to their former glory and provide much-needed affordable town centre housing for local people.

The buildings have been left empty and unused for around 40 years. However, this project will restore the outside as well as refurbishing the inside, creating 10 new affordable flats for local people and regenerating an important part of the town centre.

The works are being delivered by Aldwyck Housing Group, supported by funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), Bedford Borough Council and grant funding from Bedford High Street’s Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI). Over the last 5 years BedfordBID has contributed £100,000 to the THI to improve the look of Bedford's High Street.

The buildings have a rich history:

  • 1 St Paul’s Square was built in the 16th century and has been used as an inn, a home, auction house, stockbrokers and most recently the county architect’s office
  • 2 – 3 St Paul’s Square were built in the 18th century
  • 4 St Paul’s Square was the last of the terrace to be built as the vicarage to St Paul’s Church.

All of the buildings trace elements of Bedford’s social and commercial history and 1 – 3 St Paul’s Square are Grade II listed because of their high heritage significance.

The Council’s archaeology team has commissioned the recording of the timber frame structure of 1 St Paul’s Square and English Heritage will be dating a number of the historic timbers, offering the opportunity to learn more about this fascinating building.

The buildings play a key part in Bedford High Street and St Paul’s Square’s ‘townscape’ and it is also hoped that bringing them back into use will help to bring further growth and development to the southern end of High Street. In addition, the Council is stepping up its efforts to bring all empty homes back into use and tackling such prominent and historically important buildings is a vital contribution to this.

Keith Edwards, Head of Development and New Business at Aldwyck Housing Group, said: “Aldwyck are delighted to have begun the regeneration at St Paul’s Square, Bedford. The project has shown real partnership working with a variety of agencies including Bedford Borough Council, Ministry of Justice and the HCA. All parties have worked together and identified appropriate funding to ensure the project can move forward.

“This project demonstrates Aldwyck’s commitment to Bedford with significant investment in the town here and through new affordable homes at Westford Village and shows we are willing to tackle difficult and complex projects.

“We are extremely thankful to all the agencies who have worked with us to ensure the project proceeds. The project will provide much-needed affordable homes for rent within the town centre.”

The Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “It is fantastic that these prominent, historic buildings in the heart of Bedford Town Centre are being brought back into use.

“The Townscape Heritage Initiative aims to restore our historic High Street area buildings to their former glories and it is entirely fitting that we are helping to restore these buildings, not just cosmetically but in a way that will provide much-needed housing. It’s also further welcome investment in Bedford, supporting a thriving town centre.”

Charles Amies, executive director for the HCA Midlands, said: “We know through working closely with the Borough Council how important it is to deliver much-needed affordable homes in Bedford and we're really pleased to be supporting them to deliver. Through our Empty Homes Programme, Aldwyck Housing Group are all set to transform this high-profile regeneration site and we look forward to seeing this exciting project take shape.”

The works are being carried out by a local building firm, VE Parrott (Oakley) Ltd.

To facilitate the development, Aldwyck Housing Group has been permitted to use the former bank site next to the town bridge. This area has been fenced off during the construction works. The cycle and motorcycle parking will not be available during the works but maps have been displayed showing the location of alternative parking areas. Access to the river is unaffected.


  • Andrew Murdoch:

    03 Oct 2014 14:49:25

    It is good to see that these historic and architecturally important buildings are at long last being restored and brought back into use. they have been decaying and standing empty for far too long.
    Hopefully, the restoration will be sympathetic to the historic fabric and will help to energize the south side of the square. It would also be great to see development of the Bank buildings site next door, with a building of high quality design to compliment these important listed buildings.

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