New grants support community heritage projects across the UK

In September 2017 the Architectural Heritage Fund made 11 new grant offers worth £232,314 to support historic building reuse and regeneration projects across the length of Britain - from former church buildings in the remote highlands and islands of Scotland to an artist’s studio in Newlyn, Cornwall. We are grateful for the continuing support of Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Historic England, Garfield Weston Foundation, Pilgrim Trust, CADW, Department for Communities, Northern Ireland, Scottish Community Development Fund and Historic Environment Scotland, without which we would not be able to benefit so many communities.

Below are some highlights of the grants made in the past round.

Bannockburn House, Stirlingshire

Grant amount: £49,464  Grantee: Bannockburn House Trust

Grant amount: £49,464

Grantee: Bannockburn House Trust

Bannockburn House is a late 17th century mansion and a Category A-listed building, on the Buildings at Risk Register. It is considered overall to be of national importance, with some of the interiors classed as being of international importance, including the two rooms containing enriched plasterwork ceilings and the room in which Prince Charles Edward Stewart stayed. Except for a live-in caretaker, it has remained unoccupied as a house since 1960.

Bannockburn House was placed on the market in 2016. The Bannockburn House Trust was established as a charity in 2017, a price agreed with the owner and funding raised to purchase the building for the community. Legal agreements for ownership transfer are at an advanced stage.

Following extensive community consultation over the last few years, the Bannockburn House Trust plans to create a community enterprise that will provide full access to the community. Their vision is to provide a home for a broad range of community projects including restoring the garden, food growing, creating walks and heritage trails, arts and crafts and begin short to medium term income generation from a cafe, tours, shop, and small-scale overnight visitor accommodation and room hire. The group are developing learning and skills workshops - including arts, crafts and traditional building skills - with the new Heritage Environment Scotland Engine Shed centre for traditional skills training and development, which is nearby.

The grant will be used to develop the Trust and employ staff to progress the plans and take the fundraising forward.


12 Claremont, Hasting, East Sussex

Grant amount: £25,000  Grantee: Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust Ltd

Grant amount: £25,000

Grantee: Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust Ltd

Claremont is a characterful street in the White Rock Conservation Area, the hinterland to the town’s Pier. Although not listed, No.12 has a distinctive facade, complementing the adjoining Grade II Venetian Gothic Brassey Institute housing the town library. Built in 1850, it became Parsons and Cousins Steam Printing Works in the 1870s, with the printing industry subsequently extending into neighbouring buildings. It also housed the town's first telephone exchange, the Plymouth Brethren and the YMCA. It was acquired by East Sussex County Council to include in the redevelopment of the library, but ultimately it proved not to be needed.

Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust Ltd is a Community Benefit Society established in 2016 to provide "affordable spaces, diverse communities, fabulous neighbourhoods" through community/social investment and ownership. The AHF is particularly interested in how the community land trust model can support the regeneration of historic buildings and neighbourhoods.

12 Claremont is currently owned by East Sussex County Council, but scheduled for community asset transfer on a freehold basis or 100-year peppercorn lease. Expressions of interest will shortly be invited from community organisations, including the Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust.

If shortlisted, Heart of Hastings wish to develop a Heritage Enterprise bid, plus advance the further capital funding strands identified, so that they are ready to move forward as rapidly as possible if selected as Preferred Bidder early in 2018. The funding will help support a Project Organiser to co-ordinate the work involved and commission further professional advice to refine the plans, including specialist advice and to help establish the building’s ‘conservation deficit’.


Navigation House Stables, Lisburn

Grant: £3,500  Grantee: The Lagan Navigation Trust

Grant: £3,500

Grantee: The Lagan Navigation Trust

The building is a derelict stables block at the rear of Navigation House in Lisburn. The house and stables were originally built for the ‘Master of the Navigation’, who ran the operation of the Navigation from the house - a central point in the journey of freight from Lough Neagh to Belfast. The site was the hub of a flourishing waterway and waterside community. Both the house and stables were threatened with demolition to make way for a housing development when the Trust lobbied to have the buildings listed, acquired and renovated for its headquarters

The Lagan Navigation Trust is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation established in 2009 to promote the reopening of the Lagan Navigation for the public benefit and social good of local communities and Ireland as a whole.

The Trust’s plan is to base The Waterways College in the stables, creating an economically sustainable natural and built heritage skills training programme, aimed at disadvantaged communities and designed to increase their access to employment, volunteering and wellbeing opportunities


Here is the full list of beneficiaries in September:

Project Development Grants

·         SS Great Britain Trust - Albion Dockyard, Bristol (£10,000)

·         The New Mechanics Institution Preservation Trust – The New Mechanics Institution, Swindon, Wiltshire(£25,000)

·         Borlase Smart John Wells Trust – Anchor Studio, Newlyn, Cornwall (£13,800)

·         Hinton Martell Village Hall – Hinton Martell Village Hall, Wimborne, Dorset (£7,000)

·         Laxton Community Group – Laxton Villlage Hall, Laxton, Nottinghamshire (£10,000)

·         Heart of Hastings – 12 Claremont, Hastings, East Sussex (£25,000)

·         Otterburn Hall CIC- Otterburn Hall, Otterburn, Northumberland (£21,050)

·         Urras Dualchas Shiabost – Old Church, Shawbost, Isle of Lewis (£9,000*)

·         Bannockburn House Trust – Bannockburn House, Stirlingshire (£49,464*)

·         FEAT Trading – Silverburn Flax Mill, Leven, Fife (£24,000*)

·         Action Porty – Portobello Old Parish Church and Halls, Portobello, Edinburgh (£25,000)

Project Viability Grants

·         Minehead Connect CIC – The Old Hospital (£4,500)

·         Canal and River Trust – Bunbury Lock Stables and Warehouse (£5,000)

·         Lagan Navigation Trust – Navigation House Stables, Lisburn, Northern Ireland (£3,500)


*includes additional funding from Historic Environment Scotland.

Ruth Johnson