A SEVEN-year national programme which has helped restore some of Weston's most historic and iconic buildings has come to an end.

14 buildings have been maintained and restored thanks to the town's Heritage Action Zone programmes, which includes eight previously empty retail units.

Coinciding with this, 873 community volunteers have provided 5,500 hours’ work delivering 93 engagement activities.

8,465 young people have been taught the importance of preserving Weston's heritage during 40 school engagement sessions.

29 public events have been held, which included 15 heritage talks, nine guided heritage walks and seven exhibitions and displays.

In 2020, North Somerset Council was awarded with the High Streets Heritage Action Zone status and received £1.1m from Historic England. This national initiative ended in March 2024.

This was a continuation of investment in the town’s heritage after £800k in funding was awarded by Historic England to North Somerset Council in 2017 for the creation of the Great Weston Heritage Action Zone. This was one of England’s first Heritage Actions Zones, which ended in September 2022.

Councillor Mike Solomon, North Somerset Council’s executive member responsible for Heritage Action Zones, said: “Weston has seen significant improvements as a result of the interest Historic England has shown in our town, and the funding it has provided to restore and preserve our heritage for current and future generations.

"The funding is certainly leaving a strong legacy. We’re very grateful and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Historic England.

“You only need to walk along Walliscote Road to see the impact that this work has made. Although this initiative has ended, our work to respect the town’s rich heritage and make it an even greater place to live and work doesn’t end here.

"We’re already planning work on several buildings in the High Street thanks to the UK government’s Levelling Up fund. People will continue to see positive change over the next few years – it truly is an exciting time for the town.”

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, added: “We want our high streets to last. We know how important they are to our collective identity, our local pride and our sense of place.

"This means reimagining a new future for them so they remain at the heart of our communities. Our High Streets Heritage Action Zone initiative has proven that heritage-led regeneration can unlock a new, positive future for England’s high streets."

Arts & Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay concluded: "The brilliant High Street Heritage Action Zones have enabled people across the country to learn about the hidden histories of the buildings they pass every day, helping to shed light on the past, bring people together in the present, and inspire new ideas for the future."