The team working on the Wisbech High Street Project will be holding an informal consultation event in Wisbech Market Place on Thursday 6th August from 9.30am to 3pm and invites anyone from the community to stop by to find out more. The team would also like to ask everyone to come along to help produce an eye-catching new hoarding for one of the High Street properties with assistance from the College of West Anglia.
Earlier this year Fenland District Council received initial support1 for a £1.9m Townscape Heritage bid2 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Wisbech High Street project. The project aims to deliver the restoration of a number of buildings and facades on Wisbech High Street, alongside the re-use of the Cook’s Butchers site as an area of public realm.
Led by Fenland District Council and the Wisbech Society, the project team are now a few months into the ‘development phase’ and would like to show the community the work that they have been doing up until now and get your feedback. In particular, design work has been progressed for the proposed new public space on the site of the former Cook’s Butchers shop and the architects are keen for you to tell them what you think of the emerging ideas.
As part of the consultation event the College of West Anglia as a key partner in the project will be providing the community with the opportunity to try their hand at some practical construction skills. The construction faculty are providing space and equipment for people to have a go at laying some decorative paving and the art department will be encouraging people to help create a huge new stencil image.
The project team has met with local stakeholders a number of times over the last few months and is already taking local views on board about ideas for the High Street. Representatives of the team were also at this year’s Rose Fair handing out information and speaking to people about the project. This is another good chance to learn more about the project and tell the team what you think.
More information about the project and the event can be found on the project website and the project Facebook page:
Gary Garford, Corporate Director at Fenland District Council, said: ‘Over the last year or so we have had some really successful consultation events on this project that have helped us get this far. Ideas and designs, particularly for Cook’s Butchers are now really starting to come together and we want to share those ideas with the community and collect their feedback. The Cook’s Butchers site will become a new public space for Wisbech and we want to make sure local people have their say in its design. We have a team of fantastic architects working on the whole High Street project and we are keen to produce something that future generations look upon with pride as we all do with so many of Wisbech’s fantastic historic buildings.
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Background Notes to editors:
¹ An HLF Townscape Heritage (TH) first-round pass means that money has been set aside by HLF. The applicants can then progress to the second round and send a detailed second-round submission to secure the full award. This early level of strong financial commitment means that THs can build strong partnerships with the assurance that funding for their scheme is in place provided their final proposals fully meet the programme criteria.
² THs encourage partnerships of local organisations to carry out repairs and other works to a number of historic buildings, structures or spaces. Grants are available from £100,000 up to £2m. The next application deadline is 1 September 2015 with decisions being made in January 2016.
To date, HLF has invested £243m regenerating towns that have suffered serious social and economic decline.
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk @heritagelottery @HLFEoE
For more information please contact Katie Owen, HLF press office, on 020 7591 6036 or 07973 613820
Wisbech is known as the Capital of the Fens and is arguably the finest Georgian market town and port in the East of England. The town centre contains a large conservation area containing many Listed buildings and areas of historic importance including the Crescent and North and South Brink.
However due to a combination of underlying economic and social factors, the built environment in Wisbech has suffered and exhibits significant heritage and market failure. Many buildings in the town centre are at risk or vulnerable and some buildings have already suffered fatal collapse.
It is with this background that Fenland District Council, its partners and the community submitted a funding application for the Heritage Lottery Fund Townscape Heritage programme in August 2014.
The area proposed to form the Townscape Heritage project is Wisbech High Street. The High Street consists of approximately 30 properties and an area of public realm and is located within the Conservation Area. The High Street is one of the most important spaces in Wisbech town centre linking the Brink and Thomas Clarkson Memorial with The Crescent and the Market Place.
By focussing on physical improvements to the High Street and a comprehensive range of educational activities the proposed Townscape Heritage project seeks to address the long-term cycle of decline by delivering:
- High quality physical improvements to a prominent part of the town centre including the introduction of new commercial, community and residential uses
- A comprehensive range of formal and informal heritage learning and engagement opportunities
- A renewed sense of ownership and pride in local people for their town.
The HLF funding, matched by contributions from building owners, is sought to undertake structural and external repairs to buildings, bring vacant units back in to use and repair architectural detail.
Alongside physical works to buildings, the HLF requires the funding to be used to engage the community in the project, by means of a series of projects and programmes. Together they make up an Activity Plan that has been designed in partnership with a range of community groups. The emerging Activity Plan includes opportunities for local people and businesses to get involved in heritage through education, training and leisure activities. Amongst many others, proposed activities include:
- Formal post-16 / adult training in conservation construction with practical restoration projects
- Accredited building maintenance courses for owners, stewards, occupiers
- Community archaeology events
- Interior and shop front design work experience with students from the Thomas Clarkson Academy
- The involvement of NEETs (young people not in employment, education or training) in the restoration work
- Expanding and capitalising on the national Heritage Open Days programme
The Council is committed to continuing to engage the local community in the project through an established and effective Consultative Group alongside other public consultation events. Further details of these will be publicised in due course.
For more information please contact Ingham Pinnock Associates on firstname.lastname@example.org or Fenland District Council press office on: 01354 622226