Buxton's Spring Gardens set to transform over the coming year, say council

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Shop fronts on Buxton’s Spring Gardens will begin to transform over the coming year - as part of nearly £1 million in Government funding to revitalise the high street.

For years now the town has struggled to attract new businesses and visitors to its main shopping area and tourist sites as historic Georgian buildings have been left to rot.

However the council hopes Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) funding will allow them to return Buxton to its historic best - attracting more visitors and investment.

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Damien Greenhalgh, High Peak Borough Council’s deputy leader, told how the town was filled with ‘magnificent’ Georgian buildings.

Spring Gardens, BuxtonSpring Gardens, Buxton
Spring Gardens, Buxton

However the cost involved in restoring them to their original state was often too high a price to bear for their owners - with many prefering to have them demolished and replaced with new builds.

As part of the HSHAZ project the council will work with building owners - helping them obtain funding grants from heritage organisations to bridge the funding gap caused by the costs of restoration.

Last week news emerged that two such historic buildings at opposite ends of Spring Gardens - the Grove Hotel and the White Lion - had been placed high on the council’s wish list.

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Councillor Greenhalgh said the two prominent structures - both centuries old - had been included as they were both heritage buildings which would need ‘extra funding’ to bring back into use.

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Councillors Damien Greenhalgh and Anthony McKeown view FHSF proposals at a public exhibitionCouncillors Damien Greenhalgh and Anthony McKeown view FHSF proposals at a public exhibition
Councillors Damien Greenhalgh and Anthony McKeown view FHSF proposals at a public exhibition
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Plans launched to restore two more of Buxton’s historic town centre buildings

The council is now in meetings with the building’s owners however Coun Greenhalgh added ‘the heritage action zone is much bigger than these two buildings’.

He said: “The council element will be making improvements to the heritage building shop fronts on Spring Gardens and looking at how we can bring first-floor properties and vacant buildings back into use.”

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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The Grove hotel - earmarked for restorationThe Grove hotel - earmarked for restoration
The Grove hotel - earmarked for restoration

Damien said work was already underway to collect historic images of the town’s famous architecture and historical scenes - with plans to see them displayed and even projected onto buildings on the high street.

Speaking about shop fronts Damien told how the council could help retailers by providing up to 50 per cent of the costs - ‘that’s quite a good incentive’, he added.

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The deputy council leader described the HSHAZ funding as ‘complementary’ to its bid for up to £2 million of the Government’s Future High Street Fund (FHSF) - helping towns across England reshape their high streets and drive growth.

Buxton's White LionBuxton's White Lion
Buxton's White Lion

He said: “If the FHSF comes in that will be fantastic.

“The HSHAZ and the FHSF are all connected - just as our visitor economy strategy is tied to the Crescent - and it’s about ensuring the widest possible benefits for the town.

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“Since the Crescent reopened there’s already an uptick with people coming to look at the building - we know it will have an impact in terms of jobs, visitors and higher spending visitors.

“All the evidence points to improvements in terms of restaurants and shops - and with attractions like Poole’s Cavern, the Crescent Visitor Experience and the Pavilion Arts Centre we have so much to offer.”

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