Revival Historic high streets get share of £95m
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