Re­vival His­toric high streets get share of £95m

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - Sophie FLOW­ERS gloslive­[email protected]­plc.com

TWO his­toric high streets in Glouces­ter­shire will ben­e­fit from a £95 mil­lion cash in­jec­tion from the Govern­ment to re­vive 69 high streets across Eng­land.

Glouces­ter and Tewkes­bury have been named on the list of high streets to be re­vi­talised by the Depart­ment for Dig­i­tal, Cul­ture, Me­dia and Sport.

It’s hoped that projects across the coun­try will trans­form dis­used his­toric build­ings into shops, houses and com­mu­nity cen­tres. The fund­ing will also help tra­di­tional busi­nesses adapt to bet­ter com­pete with on­line out­lets.

An­nounc­ing the lo­ca­tions that would ben­e­fit, Cul­ture Sec­re­tary Nicky Mor­gan said: “Our na­tion’s her­itage is one of our great call­ing cards to the world, at­tract­ing mil­lions of vis­i­tors to beau­ti­ful his­toric build­ings that sit at the heart of our com­mu­ni­ties.

“It is right that we en­sure these build­ings are pre­served for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions but it is im­por­tant that we make them work for the modern world.

“This £95 mil­lion will help breathe new life into high streets all over Eng­land, ben­e­fit­ing busi­nesses, sup­port­ing our much-loved build­ings and help­ing to make our com­mu­ni­ties more at­trac­tive places to live, work and visit.”

Mel Gore, lead mem­ber for built en­vi­ron­ment at Tewkes­bury Bor­ough Coun­cil, said: “Tewkes­bury town is a beau­ti­ful town with a wealth of cul­ture and his­tory along with many his­toric build­ings. We also be­lieve it has a great fu­ture and fan­tas­tic un­ri­valled op­por­tu­nity. We are de­lighted to be suc­cess­ful in this bid which al­lows us to re­alise that op­por­tu­nity and to­gether with part­ners we are ex­cited about de­liv­er­ing this project.”

Elaine Mactier­nan, chair of Tewkes­bury Town Re­gen­er­a­tion Part­ner­ship, said: “This is fan­tas­tic news, Tewkes­bury town has so much po­ten­tial and we look for­ward to work­ing with part­ners to drive for­ward some ex­cit­ing key projects to help the town fully re­alise its po­ten­tial.”

The ini­tia­tive will be funded by com­bin­ing £40m from the Depart­ment for Dig­i­tal, Cul­ture Me­dia and Sport’s Her­itage High Street Fund with £52m from the Min­istry of Hous­ing, Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Govern­ment’s Fu­ture High Street Fund. The Na­tional Lot­tery Her­itage Fund will pro­vide £3m to sup­port a cul­tural pro­gramme to en­gage peo­ple in the life and his­tory of their high streets.

The in­vest­ment builds on the suc­cess­ful Her­itage Ac­tion Zones pro­gramme, run by His­toric Eng­land, and will turn empty and un­der­used build­ings into cre­ative spa­ces, of­fices, re­tail out­lets and hous­ing to sup­port wider re­gen­er­a­tion in the 69 suc­cess­ful ar­eas by at­tract­ing com­mer­cial in­vest­ment.

The fund­ing will be used for a va­ri­ety of projects, in­clud­ing:

» To com­plete es­sen­tial re­pair works in his­toric build­ings and re­store shopfronts and fa­cades.

» Stim­u­late com­mer­cial in­vest­ment in high streets by demon­strat­ing how his­toric sites can be suc­cess­fully re­pur­posed.

» De­velop ed­u­ca­tion projects and be­spoke events to help re­po­si­tion his­toric build­ings as com­mu­nity hubs at the heart of lo­cal towns and vil­lages.

» Help ad­dress the Uk-wide skills shortage of her­itage pro­fes­sion­als in ex­pert fields like stone­ma­sonry and con­ser­va­tion by pro­vid­ing lo­cal prop­erty own­ers, res­i­dents and busi­nesses with the op­por­tu­nity to train in these ar­eas.

His­toric Eng­land’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Dun­can Wil­son, said: “Our high streets are the beat­ing hearts of our com­mu­ni­ties. Many have roots that go back hun­dreds of years.”

He added: “Through phys­i­cal im­prove­ments and cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties, we will work with part­ners to find new ways to re­gen­er­ate our high streets. It is a chal­lenge, but with our ex­pe­ri­ence and track record, as well as the knowl­edge and pas­sion of lo­cal coun­cils, busi­nesses and com­mu­nity groups our his­toric high streets can be thriv­ing so­cial hubs once more.”

The Food and Arts Sum­mer Mar­ket in Tewkes­bury High Street, above. Be­low, Cul­ture Sec­re­tary Nicky Mor­gan

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