Wisbech High Street project successful in securing first round Townscape Heritage funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund

We are delighted to confirm that the Heritage Lottery Fund has today announced initial backing for a £2 million Townscape Heritage bid for the Wisbech High Street project.

Ingham Pinnock Associates spent around 12 months working alongside passionate local stakeholders and public agencies to prepare the round one application on behalf of Fenland District Council. It was a complete pleasure to be involved with a group with such energy, enthusiasm and sheer determination and a privilege to work in Wisbech with such a rich and fascinating history.

The project is located at the heart of Wisbech’s Conservation Area and provides an important link between the North and South Brinks and the Market Place. It aims to deliver the restoration of a number of listed buildings and facades on the High Street and turn the former Cook’s Butchers site into an exciting new area of public space.  The first-round pass from the HLF is the culmination of a year of hard work led by Fenland District Council alongside the Wisbech Society, Wisbech Town Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, and more than 20 other local stakeholders and groups, overseen by IPA. In addition, invaluable support was provided by staff at English Heritage, who were represented on the project team.

The HLF’s announcement is a significant achievement for the team behind the bid and for Fenland. The competition for this round of Townscape Heritage grants was extremely strong: only 13 of the 30 applications from all over the UK were successful.  The HLF funding is to be matched with investment led by Fenland District Council, which is contributing £230,000, along with Cambridgeshire County Council (£200,000), the Wisbech Society (£25,000) and Wisbech Town Council (£25,000).

Development funding of around £108,000 is included in the initial award to help Fenland District Council progress its plans to apply for a full grant at a later date. The project team will now spend the next year preparing a second round application to the HLF. That will see the development of a more detailed proposal for the physical works and a more detailed Activity Plan to involve local businesses, colleges and the community.

For further information on the project please visit our project page by following this link.

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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 £253m regenerating towns that have suffered serious social and economic decline.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use National Lottery players’ money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. www.hlf.org.uk.

For more information please contact Katie Owen, HLF press office, on 020 7591 6036 or 07973 613820

About Wisbech

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.