NEWS: Successful Brackley Heritage Open Day event as stage two of the HLF application process gets underway

Successful Heritage Open Day event as stage two of the HLF application process gets underway

Brackley Town Council was delighted to see so many people attend the Heritage Open Day on Sunday 14th September 2014, which saw over 150 people explore the building and in particular the attic space.

We were pleased to see such a range of ages and people exploring the building and showing a keen interest in Brackley’s heritage. For those who were not able to attend, the information boards from the event are now available to download from the project website. We will also be holding other events over the next year, which will allow the community to explore the building further and find out more about the project.

The HOD and further events form part of the development work currently being undertaken in order to submit a second round funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for £2.3m.

Over the course of the day, visitors asked a number of interesting questions about the history of the building that we were unable to answer. The professional team is currently undertaking extensive research and surveys to understand the building better and once this has been completed, we will provide answers to these questions on the project website.

Throughout the day, many people expressed an interest in becoming part of the project and there are a number of ways in which you can do this:

  1. You can join the Consultative Group. We would be delighted if local residents and stakeholders want to join this group to help shape the project and provide invaluable local knowledge. The Consultative Group will meet approximately every month throughout the project to help inform the project team and to learn more about progress. You do not need any specific expertise, all we ask is that you come with enthusiasm and ideas! We are particularly interested to hear from the younger members of the community, whose input is essential to the process. To join the Consultative Group, please contact Kate Pinnock on 0797 436 3991 or email
  2. You can attend public consultation events that will be held over the coming months, details of which will be advertised on the Town Council website, the project website and in local press.
  3. You can keep up to date with progress by signing up to the project e-newsletter ( or checking the project website ( regularly.




Notes to editors:

In 2013, Brackley Town Council, alongside architects, cost consultants and regeneration specialists, prepared a feasibility study for the Town Hall. This feasibility study looked at a number of options for the restoration of the Town Hall.

On the back of the feasibility study, the Town Council submitted a phase one application to the Heritage Lottery Fund Heritage Grant programme for the restoration of the Town Hall in December 2013. The Town Council was delighted to learn earlier this year that the phase one bid had been successful.

How does the Heritage Lottery Funding work?

Round one funding application

Projects submit what is called an outline proposal to the HLF. Although this is an outline document, it requires a lot of information to be provided such as outline costings, designs and a business case etc. This document for the Brackley Town Hall submission was over 300 pages long!

Round one pass

Securing HLF funding is extremely competitive, therefore, Brackley Town Council was delighted when they learnt earlier this year that the Town Hall project had received a first round pass.

Development Phase (this is where the project team currently is in the programme)

Once a phase one pass has been received the HLF provide funding to develop the designs, costings, Activity Plan and business case further for a phase two submission. The project team have up to two years to complete the ‘development phase’ of the bid process in order to submit the second phase application.

Since being given permission to start the ‘development phase’ earlier in the summer, the Town Council have appointed a design team and regeneration specialists to develop designs, costings, the Activity Plan and business case.

Round two funding application

The phase two funding application provides more much more detail than the first phase application, with designs and costings at a level that could be submitted for a planning application. The Activity Plan is also developed in much more detail and provides exact costings of projects and how they will be delivered.

Round two pass

If the project is successful at the phase two stage, funding has been fully secured and the restoration work can be carried out and the Activity Plan delivered.

How long will the project take?

If we are lucky enough to secure funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project will take time to deliver. Restoring historic important buildings correctly takes time and needs to be done carefully. There will be much going on behind the scenes to make sure all of the necessary consents are in place and that the right repairs are carried out before you see any changes. The application process also takes time. HLF operate a two stage application process that can take two years from start to finish.

An approximate programme for the application process and, if successful, the delivery of the project is provided below:

  • February – September 2013: Feasibility study carried out
  • September – December 2013: Developing application and initial Activity Plan
  • December 2014: Deadline for submitting the round one application
  • April 2014: Outcome of round one application
  • June 2014: Received permission to start the ‘development stage’
  • June 2014 – summer 2015: Developing round two application
  • Summer 2015: Round two application submitted
  • Summer – autumn 2015: HLF review round two submissions
  • Autumn – winter 2015: Final decision made by HLF on whether to award the funding
  • Winter 2015 – Winter 2017 (approximate): Project delivered.

What will the funding do?

If we are successful, funding from the Heritage Grant programme will be used to: Restore the historic fabric of the building, which is in much need of repairs and maintenance; improve access to the first and second floors; provide improved community space and introduce new uses to the ground floor and attic space, which is currently unused.

Alongside the physical work the funding will also be used to engage the community in the project. We have created an initial Activity Plan that includes a range of opportunities for local people and local businesses to get involved in heritage through education, training and leisure activities. The Activity Plan is very important because it will create projects that will educate a wide variety of people about heritage and in turn, hopefully ensure that the heritage is better understood and protected in the future.

Who is on the design team?

For a building of this importance and complexity, a very experienced and diverse design team are required. Expertise is needed in heritage architecture, conservation civil and structural engineering, archaeology, interior analysis, landscape architecture, mechanical and electrical engineering and cost consultancy.

The design team appointed to undertake this work are very experienced in heritage buildings and are leaders in their field. The team is led by architecture firm Haverstock and Rena Pitsilli Graham and supported by a number of experts who between them have worked on significant heritage buildings such as The White Tower at the Tower of London, Easton Neston, the British Museum, Stowe House and Palace of Westminster.

Over the coming months you will notice a number of site visits and surveys being carried out by the design team in order to inform their designs.

What is an Activity Plan?

The inclusion of an Activity Plan is a requirement of the HLF bidding process. An Activity Plan is a programme of projects that are specifically designed to engage and educate a wide variety of people about heritage and in turn, hopefully ensure that the heritage is better understood and protected in the future.  An Activity Plan complements the physical work being undertaken and helps to ensure the legacy of HLF investment goes beyond stand alone buildings.  It should include a range of opportunities for local people and local businesses to get involved in heritage through education, training and leisure activities.

Projects within the initial Activity Plan submitted as part of the round one application are varied and funding will be made available from the HLF to deliver them during 2015 onwards if we are successful!