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Architectural Heritage Fund awards first grants for revitalising high streets & town centres

Melanie May | 20 January 2020 | News

The Architectural Heritage Fund has awarded grants totalling £2m to projects that will transform high streets and town centres in England, with more grants available for charities and social enterprises that take on a derelict heritage building in a high street to do it up for community use.
The awards are the Architectural Heritage Fund’s first round of Heritage Development Trust Pilot Grants and Transformational Capital Grants: part of the Fund’s Transforming Places Through Heritage programme, which is funded by a £15 million grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. It aims to contribute to the regeneration and renewal of high streets and town centres in England by encouraging a more diverse range of charities and social enterprises to see the particular value of reusing historic buildings and in helping to diversify the range of uses within town centres.
The specific purpose of the Heritage Development Trust Pilot Grants is to enable organisations to make a step-change in their operations by helping them to ensure their long-term sustainability, community impact and legacy by taking a portfolio-wide approach to their assets and acting entrepreneurially in terms of securing new forms of funding and ownership models.
At the end of the three-year funding period the organisations should have completed at least one town centre historic building regeneration project and have a clear plan for acquiring more heritage buildings to add to their portfolios. In addition, the organisations should have diversified and grown their income streams, developed partnerships with local stakeholders and be in position to play a key role in delivering heritage regeneration over the long term in each of their localities.
The first awards include £150,000 to the Tyne & Wear Preservation Trust to extend its programme of activities across the region, working on former residential and commercial buildings in high streets, historic schools, and industrial heritage sites such as pumping stations at town centre locations stretching from Newcastle and Gateshead to Sunderland and Hexham. The Trust has also received a Transformational Capital Grant for its current project, 170-175 High Street West, Sunderland.
Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust has been granted £147,643 to restore and adapt five projects across Yarmouth’s town centre. These include a number of listed former houses and an historic pub converted for a mix of affordable housing, tourism and commercial use, as well as a Victorian church and 14th -century flint and brickwork round tower that will be adapted for holiday accommodation. One of these projects, 160 King Street, has also received a Transformational Capital Grant.

170-175 High Street West Sunderland

170-175 High Street West, Sunderland

Transformational Capital Grants are awarded to projects that find alternative uses for buildings that serve the needs of the local community and present new ownership structures and investment models that act as a catalyst for other owners and for achieving the wider regeneration of the high street or town centre.
The Fund hopes that the first awards under the Heritage Development Trust Pilot Grants will invite interest and future applications from other charities and social enterprises.
Matthew Mckeague, CEO, Architectural Heritage Fund, said:

“Our intention is to build from what has been learned and the achievements the four pilot projects have made, and so we hope to scale up this programme once the success of the pilot is proven to support many more organisations.”

Transformational Capital Grants can be applied for now, with a deadline of 31 March and awards announced in June. The Heritage Development Trust grants  scheme is currently a pilot with no date set for applications.
Details on all Architectural Heritage Fund grants, how to apply and eligibility are available on its site.
Main image: 3-5 Priory Row (Lychgate Cottages) Coventry. Historic Coventry Trust has received a Transformational Capital Grant of £350,000 to make the properties accessible to the community and visitors to the city, and provide visitor accommodation in the lead up to Coventry City of Culture 2021.


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.