The funding, part of the four-year long High Streets Heritage Action Zones (HSHAZ) Cultural Programme, led by Historic England in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, was announced last week. The aim of the programme is to make high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time.
The money will be used to focus on Spring Gardens in Buxton This will include physical work such as the restoration of traditional shop fronts and characteristic architectural details, alongside a programme of community engagement and cultural activities.
Councillor Damien Greenhalgh, High Peak Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Councillor for Regeneration, Tourism and Leisure, said: “This is an exciting time for Buxton with the town centre set to undergo the biggest transformation for decades following confirmation of our successful multi-million pound bid for Future High Streets funding.
“It was always our ambition to deliver bustling, vibrant town centres even before the Covid pandemic but now more than ever our town centres need to meet the needs of our residents and be fit for the future. That future must, at the same time, respect our history and heritage and keep it alive and relevant.
“That’s why the HSHAZ scheme works so well with our future high street plans – the two complement each other perfectly. The announcement of further funding for a cultural programme will help bring Buxton’s story to vivid life and it’s great that young people will be so involved in helping to shape events that people of all ages can relate to.”
A consortium of 12 organisations, led by Buxton International Festival, will deliver the three-year cultural programme. Local youth theatres, choirs and students from the town’s secondary schools will sit on a panel to advise on activity with a quarter of the funding reserved for young people’s programming.
Plans for the first year include an exhibition of portraits of the high street past and present using empty shop windows, street flags and digital displays.
Under the HSHAZ programme commercial properties can apply for grants of up to 75 per cent of the costs of conservation-led repairs and restoration.