Future of historic buildings secured as part of £10m regeneration plan

Two of Kirkham’s most historic buildings are set for a major revamp after Fylde Borough Council purchased both as part of the town’s £10m regeneration masterplan.

The authority has just completed the acquisition of Hillside on Preston Street and the former Charity Girls School on Poulton Street.

Both buildings – which were facing uncertain futures after lying empty years – will now be transformed as part of the Kirkham Futures masterplan which is designed to breathe new life into Kirkham’s historic town centre.

The Grade II listed Hillside – a former restaurant and wedding venue – will be converted into a centre of excellence for teaching heritage-based construction techniques and eco skills.

The former Charity Girls School dates back to 1860. After closing its doors as a school, it became a community hall and later a Lloyds/TSB bank. It is now hoped it can be regenerated as a restaurant with scope for a community cinema.

Cllr Karen Buckley, leader of Fylde Council, said: “These wonderful buildings are key to Kirkham’s regeneration masterplan, so we are delighted to have been able to complete the purchase of both.

“This not only protects two much-loved local landmarks for future generations but enables us to bring them back to life through a range of new uses that will benefit both the local community and the visitor economy.

“A lot of hard work has been going on behind the scenes to deliver this ambitious masterplan for Kirkham so I am very pleased that, following the acquisition of these two buildings, local residents will soon see the regeneration work start to take shape.”

There is a widely recognised national shortage of traditional construction and trades skills required to restore and maintain England’s 5.5 million properties built before 1919. It is hoped the Hillside Heritage and Eco Skills Centre will help plug this gap.

Cllr Liz Oades, Kirkham ward councillor and Fylde Council nominated representative for the Kirkham Futures Project Board, said: “The Hillside Heritage and Eco Skills Centre is really exciting and has the potential to put Kirkham on the map by creating a nationally important training centre that creates green jobs, educates people about heritage and sustainable living, improves health and well-being and brings many people into the town.

“The renovation of these wonderful and historic buildings is really welcome news and I hope to see the work move quickly. Together with the street improvements planned it will see a welcome return to the vibrancy and vitality of our precious town centre.”

The Kirkham Futures masterplan is funded through Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HS HAZ) scheme, the Government’s Future High Streets Fund (FHSF) together with funding contributions from Lancashire County Council and Fylde Council and Kirkham Town Council


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