Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Café society comes to Ampthill with help from council grant

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

A new café in the Georgian market town of Ampthill has been formally opened, with help from a £15,500 grant from us.

Surfin café - Market Square received the grant from us towards their £200,000 conversion of the previously empty premises on Church Street, which included a new shop front, branding, signage, awnings and lighting.

The funding came from our £1million High Street Improvement Scheme, which gave grants to 21 independent shops and businesses across seven local towns: Ampthill, Biggleswade, Dunstable, Leighton-Linslade, Potton, Sandy, and Shefford. As part of this, another £30,000 grant was received by the owners for its long-established and successful sister café in Biggleswade, which was put towards a £50,000 revamp.

John McGinley, Managing Director of the cafés, said:

We are very pleased with how the council’s grant has assisted us in the success of both our cafes. The huge difference the funding has made to how both the cafes look is already proving evident by the number of customers coming in and being so complimentary.

Working in partnership with the council has been amazing and very rewarding. The grant opportunity and the scheme itself has been one of the most amazing ideas to come to our town centres. I think the benefits to each town will be increasingly evident over the coming months and years.

Our High Street Improvement Scheme offered grants to landlords and independent businesses for up to 60 per cent of the total costs of renovating their shop fronts, forecourts and making improvements to vacant units, such as this one. The aim is to attract more shoppers and visitors back onto local High Streets.

Councillor Kevin Collins, Executive Member for Business and Regeneration, said:

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.

We were delighted that our funding has helped this local business owner to bring an empty shop back into use, and to boost their existing business that has been at the heart of the community for 16 years.

By giving our local High Streets a facelift, we can help bring more shoppers and visitors back onto our local High Streets, to ensure the long-term economic success of our lovely market towns, and increase the vibrancy of the area.