An exciting project to enhance and protect the historic character of Northwich town centre is in line for an £867,000 windfall.
The town has been earmarked for a grant under the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Townscape Heritage programme, it was announced today (Tuesday 11 February 2014).
A steering group led by the Weaver Valley Partnership and Cheshire West and Chester Council bid for a share of the funding pot which aims to regenerate the historic environment in towns and cities across the UK.
The Northwich bid focused on funding improvements to the traditional timber-framed buildings in Witton Street and High Street.
Other funding streams triggered by the grant are expected to result in a total of £1.4m being targeted at improving properties and boosting the general appearance of the town centre conservation area.
The steering group – which also comprises retailers, residents and local Councillors – has now been invited to submit a detailed outline of its plans to secure the grant.
Councillor Stuart Parker, Executive Member for Culture and Economy, said: “This is fantastic news and a clear endorsement from the HLF that our proposals have the potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money.
“The steering group will now develop the plans with a clear focus on enhancing the fabric of our most historic buildings and preserving them for future generations.
“This project will complement the award-winning public realm improvements which are re-introducing a traditional feel to Witton Street through quality materials such as York stone.
“Crucially, it underlines that the regeneration of Northwich involves the whole of the town centre – not just schemes like Barons Quay.”
David Watson, Chairman of the Weaver Valley Partnership, said: “This will bring funding for independent retailers to further enhance the improvements to Witton Street and High Street.”
Local Councillor Paul Dolan said: “Our historic timber-framed buildings are what give the town centre its unique character and identity and I am delighted that the HLF has signalled its intention to invest in their future.
“This project has great potential to boost the offer of our traditional shopping areas as the town looks ahead to the exciting redevelopment of Barons Quay.
“It is crucial that we maintain a focus on ensuring existing businesses are properly supported and I welcome the aims of this project in doing that.”
Sara Hilton, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: “HLF investment goes well beyond the bricks and mortar of a building.
“Our TH schemes can really help turn around local economies, not only by improving how they look and feel, but by prompting business start-ups and creating new jobs and training opportunities.
“We are delighted to be giving our initial support to Weaver Valley Partnership and Cheshire West and Chester Council in helping improve Northwich town centre.”