Weston receives £1.2million funding to boost town centre’s heritage appeal

Views of Weston High Street. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Views of Weston High Street. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

More than £1million has been given to North Somerset Council to improve Weston town centre’s appearance.

Weston was among one of the 69 towns across the country who received a chunk of the £95million Heritage Action Zone project fund from Heritage England to revive the high street area.

The programme will focus on the town's southern High Street, Oxford Street and the northern part of Walliscote Road.

The project looks to transform old disused historic buildings into shops, houses and community centres.

North Somerset Council leader Donald Davies believes the cash will make a 'real difference'.

He said: "I'm delighted to hear of this successful bid for funding.

"This is great news and I look forward to working with the local community, business and property owners to implement projects that will make a real difference to the vibrancy of the area.

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"We will now work this up into a detailed delivery plan to be agreed with Historic England by March, so we can start implementing in April."

The work, which will span four years, will include community engagement plus the restoration and repair of original street features.

The council will look into the development and management of a shop front enhancement grants scheme, which would improve the appearance of retail units and see historical features reinstated - such as with the restoration of WHSmith earlier this year.

The council will also be working with property owners to support the sympathetic, appropriate and high-quality conversion of upper floors to create approximately 20 homes in the town centre from empty units.

It will also be working with the Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the local community during the four years, who will be supporting the development of a cultural arts programme of projects.

Rebecca Barrett, regional director at Historic England South West, said: "It's fantastic news for the local people, residents and businesses in Weston that they will receive this funding to help support and revitalise the town centre.

"This scheme connects well with other regeneration activity in the town, including the existing Heritage Action Zone.

"We look forward to continuing to work with the council on new exciting projects."