High streets to benefit from £62 million heritage boost
New funding will bring old buildings back into use and turn them into offices, housing and creative spaces
• Dozens of locations across the country will benefit from the investment
• Culture Secretary says innovative programme will make our heritage work for modern life
A new £62 million fund will breathe new life into historic high streets across the country, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright announced today.
High streets lie at the heart of communities but are under increasing pressure as more people choose to shop online.
Building on successful programmes, the funding will be used to regenerate places by turning disused or underused buildings into creative spaces, offices, retail outlets and housing.
It is part of the Government’s ongoing work to help high streets adapt to changing consumer habits.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said:
"Our heritage makes communities more attractive places to live, work and visit.
"This £62 million 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."
Today’s initiative is part of the government’s comprehensive plan for High Streets announced at last year’s Budget, including a £675 million Future High Streets Fund and a £1 billion business rates discount for small high street retailers. Communities Secretary, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:
"We’re absolutely committed to seeing our high streets thrive now and in the future.
"That’s why we put a plan to secure the future of the high street, and are taking action to ensure they can adapt to changing consumer demand and the rise of online shopping.
"This welcome announcement will help the high street to capitalise on local heritage by restoring treasured historic buildings for economic use. This is a proven way to drive footfall, increase further investment and generate even greater civic pride in our high streets."
Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride, said:
"High streets are the lifeblood of towns and cities across the country.
"By reviving older, disused buildings, we’re ensuring high streets can not only adapt and change to suit our modern lives - but remain at the heart of our communities for years to come."
Research has shown that for every £1 invested in heritage in England, £1.60 is brought into the wider area.
The funding includes:
• £44 million of government and Historic England funding to create dozens of High Streets Heritage Action Zones overseen by Historic England. From today, local authorities can apply to the scheme, which will give councils, businesses and community groups access to expert advice and investment to bring historic buildings back into use and support historic high streets to adapt to the challenges they face.
• £3 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme to engage people in the life and history of their high streets.
• £15 million for the Architectural Heritage Fund to support social enterprise organisations like Historic Coventry Trust to take ownership of and bring buildings of local importance - such as pubs, libraries or theatres, as well as shops - back into use. The Transforming Places Through Heritage Programme will open for applications in June.
Also in the run up to UK City of Culture 2021, Coventry will receive £2 million for a new project in shopping street The Burges. It is one of the few remaining parts of Coventry to survive the Second World War and post-war redevelopments of the city, which saw large numbers of ancient buildings destroyed. The money will be used to acquire, restore and regenerate Coventry’s historic buildings to help create a sustainable future for each building.