About the Pontefract Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI)
The THI is a grant programme funded jointly by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Wakefield Council to improve the historic environment of the Pontefract Market Place Conservation Area (centred on the Market Place and nearby areas of the town centre).
A five year programme was approved by HLF, which started in 2011. HLF have since agreed to extend the programme by 2 years to March 2018, by which time £1.5m of grant will have been spent on projects and c£300k in private contributions will have been added to this through match funding.
The THI supports property owners and tenants to carry out works to restore the area’s important historic properties and public spaces by offering grants to help fund external repairs and the reinstatement of lost architectural features. The grants focus on external works that will have a positive impact on the conservation and regeneration of Pontefract Market Place.
Funded works can include:
- Repairs to external historic features (including sash windows, roofs, gutters and rain water goods)
- Reinstatement of lost external architectural features (including traditional shop fronts)
- Urgent structural works, including essential brick and stonework repair
- Redecoration of building frontages using heritage colours
Grants can cover up to 77% of the costs of repair works and up to 85% of the costs of reinstating original features (including shop fronts).
So far the scheme has funded improvements to buildings on Gillygate, Ropergate and Market Place, making a really positive impact on the town centre. There is more information about the completed schemes in the
THI information leaflet.
The grants are broadly divided into large grants for identified priority buildings and minor works grants for repairs to other historic properties within the THI area.
Four large grant schemes have been completed so far.
The first large grant to be awarded was for 5-9 Gillygate. Works started on site in September 2014 and included repairs to the roof, chimneys, shop fronts, sash windows and bays as well as the reinstatement of lost terracotta features.
The second large grant was awarded to the neighbouring property 1 Market Place, 3 Gillygate, an imposing grade 2 listed building on the corner of the market square. . Works to this sizeable grade II listed property started in September 2015 and included repairs to the roof, new shop fronts on both street frontages, repairs to sash windows and external redecoration and signage. The works have transformed the south-eastern entrance to the market square.
The third large grant was awarded to 26 Market Place, an imposing three-storey shop building (formerly Burton’s menswear) in the market square next to the Buttercross. Works were completed in April 2016 and include a new shop frontage, repairs to the roof, gutters and windows and external redecoration. The works have brought the building back to its former glory and made a visible positive impact on the surrounding streetscape.
The fourth large grant was awarded to 11-13 Corn Market (Ackroyd’s Florist). Although the property has a late eighteenth century frontage, as with many buildings in the centre of Pontefract the core of the building is much older. Dendrochronological testing (also known as tree ring dating) of the roof beams has shown that they were probably felled in the late sixteenth century. The THI grant has funded repairs to the roof, brick and render repairs and improvements to the shop front.
A fifth large grant has recently been awarded to 11-13 Gillygate, formerly Holmes Printers. Work is due to start on site in late July 2017 and will include repairs to the roof, windows, shop fronts and rain water goods, and the repair and reinstatement of the decorative terracotta on the Gillygate frontage.
Minor works grants
Nine minor works grants have been awarded so far:
- 45 Ropergate
- 39-41 Ropergate
- 15 Market Place
- 16-18 Ropergate
- 51 Ropergate
- 27 Gillygate
- 29 Gillygate
- 13 Ropergate End
- 15 Ropergate End
The THI also aims to raise awareness of Pontefract's
heritage through training events, sharing information at events such as
Heritage Open Days and Yorkshire Day, and providing updates through newsletters
and the website. The scheme has also commissioned a new family ‘Pontefract
Spotters Guide’ leaflet. The Spotters Guide is an architectural treasure hunt
around Pontefract Town Centre for children and families. It includes an
activity trail with buildings to spot, things to colour in and questions to
answer. Copies of the guide are available from Pontefract Museum and Pontefract
The THI has also helped to fund a new temporary exhibition
at Pontefract Museum on the former Holmes Printing Works (Pomfret’s Printery)
which was based at 11-13 Gillygate for over 80 years, until it closed the early
1990s. The exhibition will run until December 2017.
Who can apply?
To be eligible for a grant your property must be a historic property within the THI area and you must either own the building or have a lease with at least ten years left to run. If you have a shorter lease you could still be eligible to make a joint application with the property owner (please contact the THI officer to discuss).
The THI grants cannot fund work that has already been carried out, or projects that have already started. THI grants should aim to improve the condition of the building as a whole, so applications to fund isolated repairs to individual elements of the buildings are unlikely to be successful.
There is more information about the THI grants, including the application process, what works are eligible for funding and the terms and conditions of the grants, in the
THI Application Guidance. Please read this guidance carefully before considering whether to make an application.
How to apply for a grant
If you are interested in applying for a THI grant please contact the THI oOfficer for an initial discussion about your building and the works you are planning to do. If your project is eligible you will then be asked to complete a Registration of Interest form.
Before submitting a Registration of Interest please contact the THI Officer for an initial discussion about your project and whether it is likely to be eligible for funding.