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Architectural Heritage Fund Annual Review 2019-20
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This pilot programme will offer three years of revenue funding to enable these organisations to expand their activity and portfolio with the aim of achieving greater sustainability. The pilot will also help demonstrate the role for specialist social enterprises that can deliver capital projects alongside local partners, and which own and manage a growing portfolio of heritage assets. The four awards were made to Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, Historic Coventry Trust, the Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust, and Valley Heritage, in Rossendale, Lancashire.

Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust

Founded in 1979 to preserve, enhance and promote the historic environment of one of England’s best-preserved seaside towns, the Trust has a strong record of success, having restored and adapted 23 buildings in and around Great Yarmouth. Additionally, GYPT is heavily engaged in training and outreach schemes, passing conservation and traditional building skills to the next generation and to people seeking new skills. The Heritage Development Trust grant will enable GYPT to hire additional specialist staff, thus increasing their activity and enabling the Trust to build a larger portfolio of assets and helping improve their sustainability.

In 2019, GYPT also received additional funding from the AHF in support of Grade II-listed 160 King Street, a 500-year-old timber-framed townhouse that has lain empty since 2001. A rare survival from Great Yarmouth’s medieval past, the building will be restored to house a commercial restaurant on the ground floor as well as a much-needed social housing unit on the upper floors. The project, which is currently under construction, received both a Heritage Impact Fund loan and a Transformational Capital Grant of £350,000 through Transforming Places through Heritage.

Historic Coventry Trust

Launched in 2015 to serve as guardian of the city’s built heritage, HCT is charged with restoring, adapting and reusing many of Coventry’s historic buildings to support the city’s economic, social and cultural enhancement. HCT already lists among its rapidly growing portfolio Charterhouse, a Grade I-listed Carthusian monastery dating from the fourteenth century; the Drapers’ Hall, a set of remarkably intact Grade II*-listed Georgian function rooms; and Hales Street and The Burges, one of the best-preserved high streets in England and the first of Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zones; as well as a series of former City Gates and chapels. With a key role to play in preparing Coventry for its 2021 City of Culture year, 

HCT intends to use its Heritage Development Trust pilot grant to take on up to 22 sites around the city and repurpose these for a sustainable future. Additionally, HCT was also awarded a Transformational Capital Grant of £350,000 to restore Grade II-listed Lychgate Cottages on Priory Row. Originally three separate lodgings attached to the medieval priory of St Mary’s and with timber frames dateable to the fifteenth century, HCT plans to restore the Cottages as luxury holiday accommodation that will enable more visitors to experience the historic heart of Coventry.


Lychgate Cottages - Priory Row, Coventry
Lychgate Cottages - Priory Row, Coventry

Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust

TWBPT was established in 1979 to support the regeneration of the Tyne and Wear region through the conservation and reuse of its historic buildings and structures. TWBPT has worked across the region and on projects as disparate as the Grade II-listed landmark 1893 Dunston Coal Staiths on the River Tyne (believed to be the largest timber structure in Europe); Alderman Fenwick’s House (a Grade I-listed seventeenth-century merchant’s house and one of the oldest residences in Newcastle); and the mid-nineteenth-century brick Bottle Kilns at Corbridge. Now, with the support of the Heritage Development Trust pilot grant, TWBPT has expanded its team and will begin building a larger portfolio of activity.

Through Transforming Places through Heritage, TWBPT have also been awarded a Transformational Capital Grant of £348,350 for a row of Grade II-listed houses at 170-175 High Street West in Sunderland. Iconic regional department store empire Binns was housed here at the start of the nineteenth century, but the streetscape has been derelict for decades. Partnering with local music shop, artspace and venue PopRecs, the terrace will soon be restored and once again bringing footfall into Sunderland’s historic high street zone.

Valley Heritage

The Rossendale Valley lies nestled between the Pennines to the east and upland moors to the west. In the midst of this landscape formerly dominated by coal, a group of local volunteers formed Valley Heritage, one of England’s newest building preservation trusts, in 2015. Valley Heritage is currently focused on progressing the organisation’s first major project, the renovation and adaptation of the former Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank. With the funding provided by the Heritage Development Trust pilot grant, Valley Heritage are taking on their first formal member of staff and expanding their activity to include additional projects.

In 2019, Valley Heritage secured the purchase of the former Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank in Bacup, a Grade II-listed and turreted structure occupying a prominent site on the high street, through a Heritage Impact Fund loan of £195,000. The following June, the group was also awarded a £311,271 Transformational Project Grant for the capital redevelopment of this important local landmark. Working in partnership with coworking cooperative Indycube, Valley Heritage will transform the ground and lower-ground levels into work and meeting spaces for Bacup residents. Meanwhile, the upper floors will be transformed into four housing units for young people at risk of homeslessness.