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Oswestry set to benefit from a share of £95m government funding

Oswestry is set to benefit from a share of £40m of government funding , after Historic England announced that the town’s bid for a High Streets Heritage Action Zone has been successful and progressing to the next stage .

Launched two years ago, Heritage Action Zones aim to improve and revive historic high streets, and have already had an impact in places like Ramsgate and Sunderland

A second round of funding was announced in October 2018 and a bid was made earlier this year by Shropshire Council, in partnership Future Oswestry Group, which also comprise Oswestry Town Council and Oswestry BID.

Becoming a HAZ will help support the aims of the group and look at tackling the empty properties and enhancing the heritage of the town.

As part of this programme Shropshire Council will look to deliver a repair scheme for the key strategic buildings, look at converting empty buildings with mixture of uses including, workspace, retail and restaurants on the ground floor with residential units above.

There will be permanent enhancements to the historic environment including key shop fronts and a residential conversions programme for the upper floors of shop units to provide a number of new homes within the town, increased spend and experience within the town centre.

As part of the Scheme Shropshire Council will engage with various partners through Future Oswestry, Oswestry Heritage Forum, the Civic Society and residents, to contribute to an inclusive project,

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for economic growth, said:

“Oswestry has an active heritage partnership, which has built a programme of activity and with support could further enhance the offer available to further bring the town’s high street to life.

“This is fantastic news for Oswestry, which could thrive on its cultural and heritage offer but needs investment to enable this to happen. These proposals aim to maximise the existing assets of the town to provide an enhanced offer to visitors, residents and businesses and look at how to create a vibrant place where people want to be.

“Building on the work of the Future Oswestry group, this provides an exciting opportunity to tackle and address some of the heritage issues and empty properties within the conservation area of the town. Through a strong place-based approach to management of the high street, we will be working with key partners to deliver this vision and to bring the town’s high street to life.”

Ian Follington, Oswestry BID Chairman, said:

“Oswestry is town with a proud history and a bright future. This funding will allow us to make the best of our heritage whilst improving the look and feel of the town for workers, residents and visitors. It will also encourage continued development and business investment in the town. Congratulations to the team of winning this important funding for Oswestry”.

 

Further information

  1. High Streets HAZs will deliver a four-year programme of physical improvements, community engagement and cultural activities to revive England’s struggling historic high streets and town centres. Historic England will be working closely with a variety of local partners, including local authorities, Business Improvement Districts, Chambers of Commerce, community groups and cultural organisations to deliver positive change; supporting high streets adapt to the challenges they face by investing in their local heritage.
  2. As a Heritage Action Zone councils, businesses and community groups can access expert advice and investment to bring historic buildings back into use and support historic high streets to adapt to the challenges they face.
  3. High Streets HAZs will target high streets in conservation areas, ensuring management of their special architectural and historic interest. In this way, the investment being made in the repair and regeneration of the historic environment can be better protected and its positive impact made more sustainable. Each High Streets HAZ will also include cultural programme of site-specific events. The purpose of this will be to help change people’s perception of the heritage on their high street by encouraging increased engagement.
  4. High Street HAZs are part of the Government’s ongoing work to help high streets adapt to changing consumer habits.