We are absolutely delighted to report that the Wisbech High Street Project has been awarded a grant of £1.9m from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Townscape Heritage programme. We have been working with Fenland District Council, Wisbech Town Council, the Wisbech Society and the local community to develop the round one and round two applications over the last few years and have greatly enjoyed getting to know the place and the local community. This award is testament to the hard work of everyone involved, particularly members of the community, and means that the project can now progress to delivery and support the regeneration of this important part of Wisbech. Please see the press release below for further information:
Fenland District Council has been awarded a grant of around £1.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Wisbech High Street Project.
Thanks to National Lottery players, the project will restore a number of buildings on the High Street, bring new uses back into empty properties and transform the derelict former Cook’s Butchers site at number 24 into an exciting new area for public use.
The award from the HLF is a big boost for the town. It comes as the reward for two years’ hard work by the team and community champions that put together the two stages of the bid.
It won the HLF’s initial support in February last year, gaining £108,000 of development funding. Since then the team has drawn up more detailed proposals for the physical works and held a series of events involving local businesses, community groups and the general public.
Fenland District Council has worked closely with the Wisbech Society, Wisbech Town Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and more than 20 local stakeholders, with the whole process being overseen by consultants Ingham Pinnock Associates. Strong support has also come from Historic England.
The funding comes from the HLF’s Townscape Heritage programme.
Councillor David Oliver, FDC’s Cabinet member responsible for conservation and Leader of Wisbech Town Council, said: “We’re absolutely delighted our bid has been successful. Our plans have obviously been on hold while we awaited the HLF’s decision; now we can press ahead with everything we have been working on over the past two years. This is a project that will make a big difference to the town, both for local people and visitors.”
Robyn Llewellyn, head of HLF East of England, said: “HLF investment goes well beyond the bricks and mortar of a building. THI schemes can help boost local economies, not only by improving how they look and feel, but by prompting business and boosting the sense of pride in an area. We’re pleased to support Fenland District Council in celebrating and restoring Wisbech’s historic high street.”
Over the next few months the project team will be:
- Recruiting a dedicated Townscape Heritage Project Officer to manage the project on a day-to-day basis
- Reviewing its original Activity Plan and working with all the local community groups to engage people in a wide range of conservation education, training and leisure activities
- Developing the previous outline designs for the former Cook’s Butchers site, working with a leading architect to formulate a detailed scheme that can then seek the requisite planning permission
- Inviting individual owners and tenants to submit applications to the HLF for the Townscape Heritage funding to repair and restore their properties.
The initial HLF funding was supplemented by contributions from Fenland District Council (£230,000), Cambridgeshire County Council (£200,000), the Wisbech Society (£25,000) and Wisbech Town Council (£25,000).
Councillor John Clark, FDC’s Leader, said: “This is very good news for Wisbech and indeed for Fenland as a whole. I’d like to pay tribute to everyone in the project team and all those in the community who have worked so hard for so long on this bid.
“Securing this kind of major investment has always been one of the main goals of the Wisbech 2020 Vision and we hope that this vote of confidence from the HLF will inspire others to follow suit. It’s a great example of what can be achieved when everyone is united in their support.”
David Crouch, of the Wisbech Society: said: “The Society is delighted that all the work over several years by the society and Wisbech community groups has come to fruition. The securing of Heritage Lottery Fund support is most important for the heritage and future of Wisbech.”
Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, said: “I was delighted to hear that Fenland Council have been awarded £1.9m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to improve Wisbech High Street, helping protect and regenerate our precious high street. I wish to congratulate all those involved in the successful funding bid and look forward to seeing this transformation in Wisbech town centre for future generations to enjoy.
“Alongside other recent improvements to derelict buildings like Constantine House, it sends a strong positive signal of the improvements to our area’s heritage. It also provides a message to owners of derelict buildings still blighting the town, like the Phoenix Hotel, that they need to take notice”.
Cambridgeshire County Council Leader, Councillor Steve Count, said: “We are delighted that this funding has been agreed, which will provide a real boost to Wisbech. It is part of the County Council’s work with other public bodies and businesses to drive forward improvements for the communities we serve.
“We have listened to businesses and residents to help deliver this initiative which is part of the Wisbech 2020 Vision. But it is more than improving the look of Wisbech. While that is vital, and has been raised by residents as something they wanted done, this money will also help boost the local economy and business. It can be used to attract more people to Wisbech to come and enjoy the varied businesses and sights of this important historic town.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
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 contact:
- Fenland District Council press office: 01354 622226
- Heritage Lottery Fund (Communications): 020 7591 6138
- Ingham Pinnock Associates: 0797 436 3991