Dunstable is 1 of 67  historic high streets across England to have been offered government funding from Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities as part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme. As further detailed at   Regenerating Historic High Streets through Heritage Action Zones | Historic EnglandFrom August 2020 until 2024 Dunstable Town Council will be working with Historic England and several other partners to deliver the HSHAZ programme. The HSHAZ focuses on a key stretch of the High Street falling within Dunstable Conservation Area. It includes an area fronting High Street South and adjoining Middle Row and Ashton Square and on the opposite side of the road it extends to the rear of Priory House and includes Priory Gardens.

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This strand comprises undertaking physical works to properties in the HSHAZ area. The privately owned properties are still to be determined and this is partly dependent on which private property owners or long-term tenants choose to work with the HSHAZ. The building refurbishment  will include work to Priory House. Priory House, which passed into the ownership of Dunstable Town Council  in 2005 is currently on Historic England’s Heritage At Risk register, primarily relating to the deterioration of the stonework in the Undercroft/ vaults. It is anticipated that work to Priory House undertaken as part of the HSHAZ will allow for its removal from the At Risk register. The Priory House project, led by The Morton Partnership https://www.themortonpartnership.co.uk/ will develop proposals to repair the vaults and adapt the building environment to conserve the historic fabric for the future. The privately owned properties projects are being led by Conception Architects http://conceptionarchitects.com/ and they have been liaising with property owners and tenants since early 2021.

For more information about Priory House follow/ join the Priory House Conservation and Restoration group on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/320591406397190

Priory House undercroft

(Undercroft of Priory House comprising four bays)

The Cultural Programme/ Cultural Consortium sits alongside the HSHAZ . It involves Cultural activities and events led by the Dunstable Cultural Consortium. Historic England are working on the cultural programme in partnership with National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England. The Dunstable Cultural Consortium are working with Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity (BRCC) https://bedsrcc.org.uk/ and they will be planning and delivering the cultural programme. The Consortium involves several existing local organisations, groups and societies along with individuals who will be coming together as one to deliver the cultural programme. If you have any queries or suggestions please contact the Consortium by email  culturaldunstable@gmail.com

Check out more about the Consortium here:

This will involve events and activities related to the HSHAZ, heritage, history and culture as part of Dunstable Town Council’s events programme. All of the Community Services Team at Dunstable Town Council are involved with HSHAZ related community engagement until the programme ends at the end of March 2024.

What events and activities would you like to see? We would love to hear your ideas and suggestions!

If you have any queries or suggestions please do get in touch with Becky Wisbey (Head of Community Services) and Michelle Collings (High Street Heritage Action Zone Programme Manager) via info@Dunstable.gov.uk

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Would you like to keep up to date or get involved with HSHAZ news? If you want to know more about the programme or have any queries, please do get in touch with Becky Wisbey (Head of Community Services) and Michelle Collings (High Street Heritage Action Zone Programme Manager) who can be contacted via info@Dunstable.gov.uk

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