A multi-million pound fund has been launched to help transform high streets through the ‘creative’ use of underused historic buildings.
From July, the Transforming Places Through Heritage fund – which was opened by the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) – will be open to local groups looking for cash for projects that create alternative uses for under utilised historic buildings.
The initiative is part of the High Street Heritage Action Zones and Future High Streets Fund, run by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The funding is part of a £62m grant from DCMS that will be used to regenerate places by turning disused or underused buildings into creative spaces, offices, retail outlets and housing.
‘Today we are starting to build a future where the unique historic buildings in our towns and cities will once again play a central role,’ said Matthew Mckeague, chief executive of AHF.
‘With the right support, thriving social enterprises and charitable ventures can inject new life into our great but underused buildings, and begin to reimagine and re-establish our high streets as places of social and commercial prosperity, and common identity.
'Through initiatives like this fund, and the support AHF will provide, there is an opportunity for these streets to be much more than just retail spaces - to regain their role as the heartbeat of energy, inspiration and interaction at the centre of our local lives.’
Culture secretary Jeremy Wright commented: ‘Our Transforming Places through Heritage fund is an innovative approach to help high streets grow as cultural and economic hubs for our communities.
‘I want to encourage organisations across the UK to apply for funding so that we can get more people out to enjoy these spaces.’