Grant boosts vibrant High Street

March 27, 2015
RBGS Border Bean

A new coffee shop has proved itself to be a social hub in the market town of Kington, Herefordshire following a major refurbishment that saw it transformed from a former hardware store into a modern, popular meeting place.
The transformation was supported by a Redundant Buildings Grant from the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
The grant, worth over £12,000, was awarded to business partners Beccy Haydon and Kathy Thompson whose company Offa’s Grounds bought the freehold property, now consisting of the café and gallery, in 2012.
Previously a hardware store for over 50 years, the business had slowly found trading more difficult in the changing retail world. Yet the property itself offered large windows in which Beccy and Kathy could envisage people sitting to watch the world go by and hopefully linger for longer in Kington; and so the idea for Border Bean Coffee Shop and Gallery was born.
The work involved to transform the building in to the modern space it now is was extensive, but did uncover some hidden gems as Beccy explains: “The first six months after purchasing the building was focused on stripping back and clearing out, followed by the preparation and approval of detailed plans. With little internal improvement having taken place over the previous 50 years, it was a pleasant surprise to discover a charming old Leominster-built range from the late 1800s hidden behind the tacked-on ply board. We additionally needed to replace all flooring which had become rotten; install a modern electrical supply with associated re-wiring; repair windows and re-plaster and decorate throughout. Of course, as a coffee shop we needed to ensure a modern kitchen was also installed, along with smart toilet facilities for our customers.
The project we were faced with was significant and the additional investment that we received from the grant allowed us the freedom to ensure we completed the project to a high standard. We believe the building now has the potential, with proper care and attention, to be a useful space for at least another 50 years without requiring such extensive refurbishment in that time.”
Graham Wynn, Chairman of the Marches LEP, adds: “A business which has suffered decline over a number of years can become a sad sight on any high street, so to see Border Bean Coffee Shop and Gallery transform such a building in to a vibrant meeting place for the community serves well to demonstrate the value of the Redundant Building Grant Scheme.
“It has brought a new vibrancy to the High Street in Kington, whilst also creating eight part-time jobs and providing four local teenagers with Saturday jobs.”

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: | email:

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: | email:

For any queries about Getting Building Fund (GBF), Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Marches Investment Fund (MIF) projects supported by the Marches LEP please contact:

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The solvent liquidation of the Marches LEP is being managed by the Evelyn Partners Limited. For any matter related to this please contact:

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