Region’s towns secure £8m heritage funding

Five towns in the West Midlands are set to get more than £8m of Government cash to give them a new lease of life and help them recover from declining footfall and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The towns are:

Brierley Hill
Stoke town

The £95m government-funded High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme, which is delivered by Historic England, aims to unlock the potential of high streets, fuelling economic, social and cultural recovery.

The lead partners for the schemes (mostly local authorities) are working with Historic England to develop and deliver schemes that will transform and restore disused and dilapidated buildings into new homes, shops, work places and community spaces, restoring local historic character and improving public realm.

The High Streets Heritage Action Zone initiative is funded with £40m from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund and £52m from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund. A further £3m will be provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme.

On top of this £95 million, the government’s £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund aims to tackle the impact the pandemic has had on arts organisations and heritage sites.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “High streets sit at the heart of our communities and every part of the country deserves to have one they can be proud of. This fund will help breathe new life into high streets in towns and cities across the country – restoring them to their full glory so that they are beautiful places for people to shop, work and enjoy.

Our high streets are the beating heart of our communities and, now more than ever, have a crucial role to play in helping our towns and cities to recover from the pandemic.”

High Streets Minister Kelly Tolhurst added: “This new funding will help to transform and restore historic buildings, creating new homes, shops and community spaces, and reinvigorating local high streets up and down the country.”