Plans launched to restore two more of Buxton’s historic town centre buildings

Buxton could see two more historic town centre buildings brought back into use after being awarded nearly £1 million in Government funding to revitalise the high street.

Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 4:45 pm

The White Lion and the Grove Hotel - both listed buildings - are included in High Peak Borough Council’s plan for £962,700 from Historic England.

Derbyshire County Council - who hope to assist the borough council with the restoration - wrote in a report that a portion of the funding would be used to ‘explore and implement the repair, restoration and reuse’ of the two buildings.

The Grove Hotel, which first opened in 1770, was shut down by owners Robinson’s Brewery in 2013 and has remained closed.

Buxton's Grove Hotel - currently used by independent traders ad dubbed the Artisan Quarter

It sits in a prime spot at the top of the high street - close to the Crescent.

In 2017 Robinson’s said it had been making repairs to the building but said: “At this time we do not have plans to re-open the hotel but remain open-minded about its future and will continue to watch developments within the town.”

The White Lion Hotel at the opposite end of Buxton’s high street - a formerly popular town centre pub - was built in 1650.

It is currently being used by a series of small businesses and is dubbed The Artisan Quarter.

The Grove Hotel. Photo by Lucy Ball

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The building is currently on the market for nearly £1 million for use as eight apartments and five houses.

It is not yet known if the two buildings will return to their original uses following the hopeful restoration projects.

Last week Historic England announced Buxton would be given £962,700 from the High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme.

It is one of 12 midlands towns to receive a share of the £15.7m pot.

Under the scheme 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.

Local artists and creative organisations will be able to apply for a portion of the funding - match-funded by other organisations - to create work capturing the everyday spirit of the high street.

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 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.”

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