News - Construction News

Heritage fund created for high streets

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright has promised a £62M heritage fund to preserve historic high street buildings.

The heritage fund will be used to repair disused buildings and transform them into creative spaces, offices, shops, and housing. This forms part of the secretary’s plan to adapt historic high streets to changing spending habits.

The government’s plan for reviving high streets was announced in last year’s budget and included a £675M future high streets fund. The funding comes alongside other programmes such as the plan to regenerate parts of Coventry ahead of its 2021 City of Culture year.

Jeremy Wright said: “Our heritage makes communities more attractive places to live, work and visit.”

“This £62M investment will breathe new life into high streets right across the country, benefiting local people and businesses, as well as providing assistance to much-loved historic buildings.”

“It is right that we do all we can to not only protect our heritage, but make it work for modern life so it can be enjoyed by as many people as possible.”

The £62M funding will include:

  • £44M of government and Historic England funding to create dozens of High Streets Heritage Action Zones overseen by Historic England.
  • £3M from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme to engage people in the life and history of their high streets.
  • £15M for the Architectural Heritage Fund to support social enterprise organisations.

The funding builds on the success of projects in Margate, Grantham, and Derby where the redevelopment of Derby Cathedral Quarter brought nearly 100 properties and more than 2,700sq m of commercial floor space back into use through Historic England’s Partnership Scheme in Conservation Areas. There are currently 18 Heritage Action Zones across England and it is expected that this new funding will see the creation of 40 – 50 more.

The Historic England funding will allow councils and other local authorities to access expert advice on reviving historic buildings and adapting high streets for the future. Many locations across the UK will benefit from the funding which the government hopes will help struggling high streets are an attractive place to visit even as more people shop online.

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