Historic high streets get £18m grant

Towns across the North West have been awarded a share of £18.7m from the Government’s £95m Historic High Streets Fund, to repair buildings, provide training in heritage-based skills, and stimulate commercial investment.

The locations which have been granted funding are: Bacup, Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool, Burnley, Chester, Fleetwood, Kirkham, Lancaster, Maryport, Ormskirk, Prescot, Stalybridge, Tyldesley, and Wigan.

In total, the region has the second-highest allocation nationally, behind the Midlands which was awarded £21.1m.

The initiative will be funded by combining £40m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund with £52m from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s Future High Street Fund.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is providing £3m to support a cultural programme to engage people in the history of the high streets.

The towns and villages will now work with Historic England to develop plans for their areas.

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

  • To complete essential repair works in historic buildings and reveal hidden and forgotten features of buildings by restoring shop-fronts and facades
  • Stimulate commercial investment in high streets by demonstrating how historic sites can be repurposed
  • Develop education projects and events to help reposition historic buildings as community hubs at the heart of local towns and villages
  • Help address the 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

The Government’s 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 £95m 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.”

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