Funding boost for renovation of Upper Westgate historic buildings
Wakefield Council has received a funding boost of £1.9m from Historic England, to support its multi-million pound plans to revitalise an historic part of the city.
The Council has matched Historic England's £1.9m grant, so that almost £4m will be invested in renovating Upper Westgate's historic buildings, and, in cultural events and celebrations, once it is safe, following the coronavirus pandemic.
The funding supports the High Street Heritage Action Zones (HSHAZ) initiative and aims to breathe new life into the heart of the city by creating new jobs and attracting new small and medium businesses to the area, whilst conserving historic buildings.
Cllr Darren Byford, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration, said: "It is great news that we've been awarded £1.9m from Historic England.
"Throughout the coronavirus pandemic the Council and its partners have been helping businesses to access vital funds and support. This is yet another way of how we are showing our support to businesses in our recovery phase.
"Conservation work will ensure the exceptional Georgian and Victorian buildings of historic interest are protected, as well as preserving features such as surviving medieval street patterns and yard areas.
"This funding is a positive step for our future and I believe we can revitalise this historic Westgate area, attract new investment and encourage people to work, live and visit the area. The investment will support our wider economic plan for this part of the city centre – supporting the area to thrive and grow."
The Council will work with Westgate building owners, offering them grant funding to restore buildings of historic and architectural interest and make use of vacant floor space within them. At least 20 buildings will be restored, for both residential and business use.
The Council is working with Wakefield Civic Society to ensure restoration works meet the highest conservation standards.
Locally based contractors and architects will be sought to carry out the restoration works and training will be given to building owners to learn about how to maintain their properties.
When it is safe, once the coronavirus pandemic has passed, a programme of cultural community activities will be offered, in partnership with cultural organisations based in the Westgate area. Wakefield residents will have opportunities to get involved and learn about Westgate's unique history.
The project will also highlight the diverse art, cultural and educational organisations in the Westgate area and promote their contributions to the city's future economic prosperity and reputation as a cultural destination. They will be forming a Westgate Cultural Consortium that will bid for grant funding from Arts Council England to run a separate three year art and cultural events programme.
About Historic England
We are Historic England the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England's spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we've come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all. We fundraise from individuals, charitable trusts and foundations and public sector bodies to enable us to deliver those aspects of our work that are not funded by our Government grant.
About Heritage Action Zones
Historic England is working with local people and partners through grant funding and sharing our skills to help breathe new life into high streets that are rich in heritage and full of promise - unlocking their potential and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors. The High Streets Heritage Action Zones scheme, backed by government funding, aims to help with the recovery of local high streets from regenerating historic buildings to helping to engage local communities through art and cultural projects.