A grant of £62,500 has been awarded for a specialist study to look at how Buxton can best capitalise on the renaissance of its heritage buildings.
The study, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant, will also look at the town's legacy as a centre for wellbeing, with the ultimate aim of ensuring it is at the top of visitors’ ‘must visit’ lists.
It is being commissioned by the Buxton Visitor Economy Strategy Steering Group, made up of people representing Buxton’s key cultural heritage attractions including the Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust, the University of Derby, Buxton Opera House and Vision Buxton, working in partnership with both High Peak Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council.
Paul Kerryson, joint chair of the steering group and Buxton Opera House director, said: “We’re very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund and, of course, everyone who plays the National Lottery, for their ongoing support in Buxton’s transformation.
“It’s a timely funding award with the completion of the Crescent and Thermal Spa project, expected in 2019, coming after the completion of schemes at the opera house and the museum.
"The Octagon at the Pavilion Gardens is also set to open again this year following major investment so the time is right for Buxton to step up.
“We are on the cusp of taking the town to a new level in terms of our heritage attractions for residents and visitors and it is fundamental to our future success that we are fully prepared to make the most of this unique opportunity.”
The grant award has been made from the HLF’s Resilient Heritage Fund which is focussed on managing heritage assets.
Jonathan Platt, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said: “We’re delighted to continue our support for Buxton – a town where we’ve made one of our biggest investments outside London at just under £34 million.
“This latest grant will help the partners and the steering group ensure that this investment has sustained benefits and that the buildings and attractions are enjoyed for generations to come.”
Councillor Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire County Council and High Peak’s executive councillor for tourism, Tony Kemp, have welcomed the opportunity for closer collaboration between the councils, university, local stakeholders and the cultural sector to develop a unified strategy for the visitor economy.
Commenting jointly they said: “The two councils have kept faith in the town through two decades of political and economic change bringing in nearly £90 million of external investment to add to the very considerable expenditure in heritage buildings made by the councils themselves.
“The time has come to bring together these achievements and ensure the town claims its rightful place on the national and even international tourism agenda – that cannot and should not be led solely by the councils and we look forward to playing our part in this joint initiative.”