Dunstable - giving back your high street

Dunstable High Street project overview

It’s an exciting time for Dunstable’s High Street

We have invested in your High Street and the future of Dunstable. We wanted to create a more pleasant, safe and attractive High Street, reducing the sense of vehicles dominating the road, giving greater priority to pedestrians and cyclists and improving accessibility between and within different parts of the town centre. This will improve the identity of the High Street by creating a more traditional town centre that reflects the unique history of the area to attract shoppers and businesses.

The improvements we’ve made

The extensive scheme featured a range of pedestrian improvements widening the footways with new seating areas and improving crossing points, including a diagonal crossing at Church Street, West Street and Dunstable High Street.

Planters and rain gardens, coupled with drainage works, have been installed to reduce the likelihood of flooding. These improvements also prevent inconsiderate parking and enhance the environment for pedestrians

New street lighting reduces our carbon footprint. We’ve improved the cycleways to encourage sustainable methods of travel and we’ve introduced clearer signage for road users and information totems for pedestrians

This will help the High Street become a more pedestrian-friendly and attractive area. These improvements were based on what you wanted us to do

The Dunstable New Perspective film showcases all the work we have done.

History of the High Street

Dunstable's High Street and crossroads have played a key role in the town’s proud history, but over the years increased levels of traffic led to heavy congestion and caused the town centre to lose some of its sparkle. We wanted to build upon Dunstable’s existing heritage to create a new, improved, people-orientated High Street with the feel of a town that caters to the needs of locals and visitors.

A thriving, modern high street

The best way to prepare for the future is to invest in it. The High Street is not just for the ‘butcher, baker and candlestick maker’ and we wanted to redefine the experience of your local High Street, offering a promenade look and feel, with a sense of a central thoroughfare to attract shoppers and visitors. Dunstable will become a connected 21st-century town centre. Building on its heritage and green space, Dunstable will become an attractive and accessible choice for residents, employees, employers, investors and visitors alike. The town will bring more to a wider range of people, offering an experience that will return to the social focus of the High Street, making it stand out from the crowd and giving a renewed sense of belonging.

A unique opportunity

The council-led and coordinated £7 million Dunstable High Street improvement scheme was funded by Homes England, National Highways, SEMLEP, the Local Growth Fund, and Anglian Water. This means council tax goes towards essential services.

Update - March 2023

There have been many changes and enhancements made to Dunstable High Street following the investment we secured to make the town centre more attractive.

You welcomed the important enhancements like the improved pavements, new pedestrian crossings, and landscaping that also features rain gardens with large underground water tanks to reduce the flood risk.

However, we know many of you preferred elements of how the old High Street, Church Street, and West Street junction worked so we listened and ran a new traffic analysis looking at the latest traffic counts. This data shows that the previous Church Street junction layout does offer slight journey time savings for road users.

So, what does this mean?

We will be implementing changes to Church Street so that it returns to the old traffic arrangements.

In April, our contractor will begin altering the line markings and carrying out other changes to revert this section to how it was before.

The right lane will only be for traffic turning right from Church Street onto High Street North and the left lane will go back to being for vehicles going straight onto West Street and turning left onto High Street South.

As this will take some time to do, we will also take this opportunity to put down a better, more hard-wearing, road surface that will need less maintenance in future years.

This work is scheduled to take about five days to complete and will require some road closures and diversions. These will be signposted for road users. We apologise in advance for the disruption.