Funds worth more than £1m set to benefit town centre heritage programme

Weston High Street in July, 2019. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Weston High Street in July, 2019. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

A Historic England fund worth £1.1.million has been awarded to North Somerset Council to create an innovative heritage programme for Weston.

Dolphin Square site in Oxford Street, Weston.

Dolphin Square site in Oxford Street, Weston. - Credit: Archant

The Government body’s funds will be invested in the town’s Heritage Action Zone, and the project will focus on the end of Weston High Street around Oxford Street and the north of Walliscote Road.

High streets across the country have been given funding worth £95million which will go towards reviving historic high streets in 69 towns. Ten of those grants awarded are being used to renew those in the South West.

The works to regenerate Weston town centre will take place across the next four years.

Chairman of heritage arts and culture at North Somerset Council, John Crockford-Hawley, said: “This money is a fantastic injection of funds into Weston’s historic town centre and a great opportunity to improve and revitalise an area that’s full of interesting post-war modernism, 1930s Art Deco and Victorian buildings.

Walliscote Road, North. Picture: Google Street View

Walliscote Road, North. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Google Street View

“This very welcome investment shows how seriously Weston’s potential for heritage regeneration is being taken by national funding bodies and I look forward to working with local businesses, residents and other groups as we plan for the future.”

The funding is set to benefit Weston through the restoration of original street features, improving lighting, paving, street furniture and reinstating original architectural characteristics of the town, including works to improve the exterior of retail units and reinstate historical features on shop fronts.

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North Somerset Council is also set to work with property owners to support conversion of uppers floors, empty units, and to potentially bring forward up to 20 new homes in the town centre.

The authority will also help shape the delivery of the programme through volunteering and stakeholder initiatives, as well as work with Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the local community to support the development of a cultural arts programme, including building on the work of the Heritage Action Zone in Weston.

Regional director at Historic England South West, Rebecca Barrett, said: “This investment for our Historic High Streets Action Zone scheme will unlock the potential of these precious high streets and help them thrive again.”

Other South West beneficiaries are in Cullompton and Plymouth, Redruth in Cornwall, Chard, Keynsham, Midsomer Norton, as well as Poole in Dorset, Gloucester and Tewkesbury.

High Streets Minister, Kelly Tolhurst MP, said: “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.

“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.”