50 years of conservation areas

Newport High Street in its heyday

Today, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is announcing more than £17m of National Lottery investment to help revitalise 10 conservation areas across the UK that are in vital need. 

Fifty years on from the designation of the first conservation areas, the money will help to reverse years of decline by repairing buildings and creating attractive, vibrant places that people want to live, work, visit and invest in.

The first conservation area to be designated was Stamford in Lincolnshire. Its 600 listed buildings provide outlets for a large range of independent shops and businesses and it is still a thriving and economically vibrant town and a big draw for tourists. However, others have not fared so well, particularly in areas of social and economic deprivation.

Since 1994, HLF has invested more than £288m of National Lottery money to more than 439 projects conserving historic townscapes. 

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of HLF, said: “We’ve been investing money raised through the National Lottery in the UK’s conservation areas for more than 20 years and we’ve seen first-hand the incredible difference it has made to local communities.

“Our work with the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) on the Heritage Index has shown that where local communities build local plans around heritage, it can have a powerful effect not only on local pride but also on local economic prosperity.”

The projects

In Newport in Wales, a grant of just over £1.2m will restore and regenerate the town’s oldest surviving shopping arcade - the Grade II listed Market Arcade.

In Maybole in Scotland, an investment of just under £2m aims to halt the deterioration of, and to repair, important historic buildings located within the town’s conservation area. It will improve up to 75 properties, shop fronts and public spaces, making the town attractive for local people and investment.

In Underbanks in Stockport just over £1.8m will help transform its historic high street into a vibrant destination that attract new visitors to the area. 

Full list of grants

  • Bradford, West Yorkshire - £2,000,000 (development grant of £61,800)
  • Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland - £1,998,900 (development grant of £70,100)
  • Stockton-on-Tees 0 £2,000,000 (development grant of £124,200)
  • Underbanks, Stockport - £1,842,200 (development grant of £53,000)
  • Mansfield, Nottinghamshire - £921,600 (development grant of £72,500)
  • Lurgan, Northern Ireland - £1,998,900 (development grant of £63,900)
  • Maybole, Scotland - £1,999,900 (development grant of £329,900)
  • Penicuik, Scotland - £1,806,000 (development grant of £114,000)
  • Market Arcade, Newport, Wales - £1,279,600 (development grant of £177,300)
  • Blaenavon, Wales - £1,269,800 (development grant of £35,500)

Notes to editors

This money announced today has been awarded through HLF’s Townscape Heritage programme. Over the past 20 years, more than 300 projects across the UK have benefited from £274m from Townscape Heritage. This support has helped create attractive, vibrant places that people want to live, work and invest in.

Examples of successful heritage-led high street regeneration projects can be found in: Far Gosford, Coventry; St George’s, Great Yarmouth; Bo’ness, Central Lowlands of Scotland; Denbigh, North Wales; and Whitechapel, London.

Funding awarded through the Townscape Heritage programme encourages partnerships of local organisations to carry out repairs and other essential works to a number of historic buildings, structures or spaces. Grants are available from £100,000 to £2m. The next application deadline is 12 noon, Friday 8 December 2017 with decisions being made in spring 2018.

Further information

Natasha Ley, HLF, on tel: 020 7591 6143 or via email: natashal@hlf.org.uk.

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