A £2 million National Lottery boost to bring Stockton’s heritage buildings back into use has been announced by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The HLF today (30 January) announced the earmarked £2million funding* – the maximum grant available through their Townscape Heritage Programme fund – to regenerate a key stretch of the Town Centre’s Northern Gateway area of the Town Centre spanning northwards from Regent Street, to Queen Street towards the northern end of the Town Centre.
This part of the Northern Gateway is within Stockton Town Centre Conservation Area which features many Grade listed buildings and others of heritage interest and historic significance, some of which have suffered from deterioration. This was a key consideration in HLF’s decision to award grant funding.
Subject to HLF approval of the detailed Round 2 funding application, grant funding will be available by application to property freeholders to bring nine buildings back into use, conserve the structural integrity, architectural features and appearance of a total of 12 buildings, replace modern paving with traditional materials, and create a public park on the site of the former Congregational Church off Norton Road.
Grant funding is expected to open to applicants from April 2018. Applications will also be open to heritage and community projects to increase local heritage skills, qualifications, general awareness and understanding of local heritage.
Councillor Nigel Cooke, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, said: “We know how much residents value and take an interest in Stockton’s heritage so we are really excited about this grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
“With support from external funding like the National Lottery we are a step closer to bringing back into use a number of heritage buildings which are teeming with historical significance, as well as restoring the appearance and structure of a range of existing old buildings and public realm in the Town Centre’s Northern Gateway. We can also work to further local skills and knowledge to help safeguard and appreciate our heritage and economy for generations to come.
“We’re extremely ambitious about putting heritage at the heart of the wider Town Centre and this announcement follows a proven track record of reviving our other historic buildings including the Enterprise Arcade, the Grade II listed 25 High Street, and 17 Dovecot Street as well as the ongoing restoration of the Grade II listed Globe Theatre. We are working to safeguard these buildings so they can be enjoyed by future generations.”
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “We’ve been investing money raised through the National Lottery in the UK’s historic conservation areas for more than 20 years and we’ve seen first-hand the incredible difference it has made to local communities. This project in particular has the potential to have a powerful effect not only on local pride but also on local economic prosperity in Stockton.”
The Townscape Heritage Programme helps communities regenerate towns and cities across the UK by improving their built historic environment and bringing them back into use by creating attractive, vibrant and interesting places for people to live, work, visit and invest.
This is achieved by funding physical works to repair and enhance the historic area in order to encourage business confidence, by providing local people with the opportunity to learn new skills, and by inspiring the local community to take an interest in and get involved with their townscape heritage. By doing so, this National Lottery grant will help remove one of the key obstacles currently standing in the way of regeneration by transforming neglected buildings into productive and sustainable enterprises.
Work on the Northern Gateway is expected to get under way in spring 2018, subject to HLF approval of the Round 2 application. The five-year project will be delivered by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, property freeholders and other project partners, supported by a community heritage group and local town centre groups.
*Townscape Heritage applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.