Clevedon Pier is the only intact Grade I listed pier in the UK. Sir John Betjeman described it as the most beautiful pier in England. Recognising that its appeal to visitors and the local community needed to be enhanced to sustain its long-term future, the Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust needed to formulate a plan for further income-generating opportunities. In 2012 after gaining support from a number of sources including the Heritage lottery Fund and the Coastal Communities Fund, the Trust approached the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF), which provided a loan of £140,000 toward cashflow whilst capital works were undertaken.
The AHF offers a tailored approach to lending, and many historic building restoration projects, even if fully funded from grants, are likely to require working capital to ensure cashflow is maintained throughout the project in between grant payments from different funders. This allows contractors and professionals to be paid on time, thus minimising the risk to all involved. A community share issue raised £250,000 from around 1,100 investors, and in March 2016 the AHF purchased a further £80,000 worth of shares.
The Pier now offers a hands-on visitor experience, with a restaurant and shop, and a venue for parties, meetings and events at the pier head, so as not to compromise the setting of the Pier. In 2019 the Pier celebrated its 150th anniversary, with the further good news that the Trust is now on a sound financial footing, having put in a comprehensive long term maintenance programme. This week the Trust has paid the final instalment of the loan from a combination of income, donations and a generous bequest, allowing the AHF to re-invest the funds into other community-led building regeneration projects.
Phil Curme, Chairman of the Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust, stated that ‘The AHF loan came at exactly the right moment and was a key component in the funding of our highly successful Visitor Centre project. We have found the AHF team to be extremely supportive and their share investment in our recently constituted Community Benefit Society was a really innovative way of providing additional support. The AHF are a key partner and the Trust is very grateful for their enthusiastic support’.
Matthew Mckeague, Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund, noted that ‘I am delighted that the Architectural Heritage Fund has been able to offer support to the Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust in providing a low-cost loan and funding for community shares. These have been an essential part of the funding package that has helped to provide new community and visitor facilities that will enable long-term financial sustainability’.
See www.clevedonpier.co.uk for further information on the Pier and its amenities.
The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity, working since 1976 to promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas.
We are the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK. We provide advice, development grants and loans.
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