Buxton awarded nearly £1 million to aid struggling high street

Buxton has been awarded nearly £1 million to aid the struggling high street’s recovery post-Covid-19.

Saturday, 19th September 2020, 7:00 am

The town - which will receive £962,700 from the High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme - is one of 12 Midlands towns to receive a share of the £15.7m funding.

High Peak Borough Council will work with Historic England to transform and restore disused and dilapidated buildings into new homes, shops, workplaces and community spaces - restoring local historic character and improving the public realm.

However funding will also be used to fund four years of cultural activities to engage communities with Buxton’s high street - celebrating its history.

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Buxton has been awarded nearly £1 million to aid the struggling high street’s recovery post-Covid-19. Photo: Derby and Derbyshire Economic Partnership/Derbyshire County Council

The council will set up cultural committees to work with local artists and creative organisations.

As part of the programme Historic England is asking creatives to respond to briefs including work capturing the everyday spirit of the high street.

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One example includes a four-year photography commission to document the changing face of the high street.

The programme has already started pilot grants to produce work in the run-up to Christmas - including everything from art exhibitions in empty shop windows to street art trails bringing the high street back to life.

Examples include poetry penned by local people appearing on pavements to residents voicing animations.

Historic England, who will be delivering HSHAZ, say the current economic crisis is expected to have a ‘devastating impact’ on historic buildings on high streets.

A spokesman said: “It is not just the economic future and commercial confidence of the high streets at stake.

“They have a long history of being the heart of places where local people meet, work, shop and feel part of something bigger.”

Louise Brennan, Historic England regional director (Midlands), said: “Whether it’s a medieval market town or a post-industrial centre every high street in England has a distinctive history that can be harnessed to help it achieve a prosperous future.

“Investing in heritage delivers good results for people – it means looking after and celebrating the places at the heart of our communities and the buildings and public spaces which define their character.

“This investment for our Historic High Streets Action Zone scheme will unlock the potential of these precious high streets and help them thrive again.”

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