WORK to transform a Grade II listed building on Stockton High Street has begun.
The investment in 25 High Street is the final part of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s current round of Grantsfor Heritage Buildings.
Funded by the Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund the scheme has seen five buildings already repaired and work is under way on two others.
Among the buildings benefitting are 35-37 High Street which became the town’s Enterprise Arcade, 42 High Street which now offers five high quality flats, 134 High Street was redeveloped for retail use and 17 Dovecot Street is now a florist.
Work is also taking place to bring the former Courtyard Hotel back into use through the expansion of the Georgian Theatre into a 300 capacity live music venue.
And in addition to all this the scheme has provided grants for public realm improvements. In 2014 it funded a scheme which saw paving on Dovecot Street replaced with materials in keeping with the character and amenity of the conservation area.
A dedicated plaque acknowledging the contribution the Heritage Lottery Fund has made towards redeveloping Stockton Town Centre and preserving the High Street’s historic buildings was laid on Dovecot Street in May.
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, Councillor Nigel Cooke, said: “Through the Grants for Heritage Buildings we have been able to conserve and refurbish some of the oldest buildings in Stockton Town Centre and in doing so create space for both businesses and town centre living.
“It is fantastic to see these buildings brought back into use and play their part in today’s town centre by creating new places to live and do business while retaining some of Stockton’s history and heritage for future generations.
“With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund we have also been able to make improvements to paving and give our residents the opportunity to celebrate our heritage through all kinds of events and activities."
25 High Street is around 250 years old and over the next four months it will undergo a series of repairs which will see many of the building’s historic features enhanced and preserved. Meanwhile offices will be created in the vacant upper stories.
Once complete not for profit organisation, Asian Business Connections, will use it as a base to deliver training and business support including helping to get young people from all backgrounds back into work.
Ammar Mirza CBE, Chairman and Founder of Asian Business Connexions, said: “Asian Business Connexions (ABC) is delighted to have secured 25 High Street, Stockton as its Teesside base. Working in partnership with the SME Centre of Excellence we aim to offer local businesses a one-stop-physical centre for all business needs. Working in partnership with the LEP, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, Microsoft, Barclays, DfTI, and numerous credible stakeholders the centre will help businesses start, survive and thrive.
“The Heritage Lottery Fund has helped ABC to accelerate its plans and restore the building to its former glory as a landmark economic site. We are particularly appreciative of all the support from Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and look forward to developing our positive working relationship further to help the region create more and better businesses.”
To find out more about Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Grants for Heritage Buildings scheme visit www.stockton.gov.uk/grantsforheritagebuildings