Midlands high streets boosted by £15.7m heritage funding

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High streets across the Midlands are set to benefit from more than £15 million in new funding aimed at breathing life into run-down buildings and boosting local economies.

Twelve locations across the region will receive the grants which are to be used to help town and city centres battle against declining footfall and recover from the impact of covid-19.

The capital is part of a £95 million government-funded pot called the High Streets Heritage Action Zone which is being distributed nationally to 68 towns by Historic England.

The Midlands locations and their new funding allocations are:

– Brierley Hill £1,800,000

– Buxton £962,700

– Grantham £886,540

– Hinckley £881,795

– Kettering £1,480,000

– Leicester £1,500,000

– Leominster £1,800,000

– Lincoln £1,682,000

– Newark-on-Trent £275,000

– Oswestry £653,080

– Stoke Town £1,999,982

– Wednesbury £1,800,000

Total £15,721,097

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Lead partners for the initiative, which are mostly local authorities, are working with Historic England to develop and deliver schemes that will transform and restore disused and dilapidated buildings into new homes, shops, workplaces and community spaces.

The hope is that local historic character will be restored and public realm improved.

Last year, £2 million in funding was granted to Coventry city centre to revitalise the historic retail area known as The Burges where more than 20 buildings are subject to restoration and improvements works, alongside projects to restore the public realm.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “Whether it’s a medieval market town, or a post-war city centre, every high street in England has a distinctive history that can be harnessed to help it achieve a prosperous future.

“Investing in heritage delivers good results for people – it means looking after and celebrating the places at the heart of our communities and the buildings and public spaces which define their character.

“This investment for our Historic High Streets Action Zone scheme will unlock the potential of these precious high streets and help them thrive again.”

Leicester city centre suffered its own local lockdown but it will now receive £1.5m in new funding
Leicester city centre suffered its own local lockdown but it will now receive £1.5m in new funding

The scheme includes £7.4 million to fund four years of cultural activities to engage people with their local high streets and celebrate the role and importance of these historic areas as hubs of the community.

The second part of the programme is a series of national cultural commissions.

Historic England is asking creatives to respond to briefs that include capturing the everyday spirit of high streets and connecting them across the country.

This will include a large-scale outdoor arts celebration of the high street and a four-year photography commission to document the changing face of the high street.


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