Six new projects working to revitalise high streets and town centres across England have been awarded grants through the Transforming Places Through Heritage Programme. Launched in 2019, the programme is working to support the third sector to identify and develop new uses for historic buildings in historic high streets and town centres throughout England.
Stretching from Devon to Lancashire, these projects are the latest recipients of support and include match funding for Morecambe Winter Garden’s crowdfunding campaign, a project development grant for a former coaching inn, and an early stage grant for a Grade II* listed church in Lancaster. All projects demonstrate the third sector’s unique role in transforming and breathing new life into our high streets and town centres.
The full list of projects awards have been made to are:
Morecambe Winter Gardens, Lancashire
This Grade II* listed Victorian pavilion was a premier venue for concerts and classical music. Years of decline and neglect have led to major challenges within the building that are being addressed in stages by the Morecambe Winter Gardens Trust. The overall project aims to restore the Winter Gardens to its former glory and reopen as a major arts venue. It is focused on conserving the heritage aspects of the building whilst increasing usability and capacity. This would create the largest venue in the region. The grant will match, pound for pound, funds raised through a crowdfunding campaign towards the cost of installing a new heating system.
Crowdfunding Challenge Grant, £25,000.
Church of St John the Evangelist, Lancaster
St John the Evangelist is a Grade II* listed Georgian Anglican Church located in Lancaster’s City Centre Conservation Area. Built in the 1740s as chapel for Lancaster Priory, in a simple, classical design. It has been vacant since 2015 following unprecedented flooding and is on Historic England’s Heritage At Risk Register due to its poor state of repair. The Churches Conservation Trust plans to repurpose the church into a co-working space, focused on collaborative working and support for emerging businesses.
Project Viability Grant, £15,000
Centenary House, Morecambe, Lancashire
Centenary House is an important building in Morecambe West End’s High Street. Built in 1927, it was extended in 1960 to become the major Co-operative Society department store for the Morecambe area. Exchange Creative Community, a local Community Interest Company, intends to restore the building into usable space, converting it into a community enterprise hub consisting of shared co-working space with creative studios, a learning centre, incubation pods, meeting rooms, private workspaces and an event space.
Project Development Grant, £68,000
The Globe, Great Torrington, Devon
The Globe is a landmark heritage site within the very heart of this small market town, with a longstanding history as a posting stop and coaching inn. The building has been closed for over two years, prior to which it was already suffering from the impacts of underinvestment and the resultant deterioration of the historic fabric. The Globe Hotel will be transformed into a community-owned training hotel with an arts focus in partnership with the local Petroc College and the nearby Plough Arts Centre.
Project Development Grant, £62,475
The Old Bank, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire
Dating from around 1750, 16 Market Place was originally a prominent townhouse overlooking Chipping Norton’s market square. A boarding house in the early 20th century and base for US servicemen during WWII, it then became a bank in the 1950s. It was vacated in 2018, and has been empty since. The Parish of St Mary's Church bought the building with a vision to redevelop it into a community hub providing support to local people in need, including flexible workspaces. The new facilities will provide a café style reception, meeting and training rooms for use by local agencies, community groups and service providers including the Housing Association, Police, and Citizens Advice Bureau.
Project Development Grant, £74,732
20 Dragon Street, Petersfield, Hampshire
A former pub, this Grade II double fronted building was converted to a restaurant in 2007, which closed in 2019. The building is being restored to become a youth centre and permanent base for the King’s Arms youth charity, which employs a team of specialist youth workers. They will use it to run their after school clubs, the East Hants Young Carers Programme, Supersonic club for young people with Autism or Down’s Syndrome, 1:1 mentoring, and an inclusion programme addressing mental health.
Crowdfunding Challenge Grant, £22,500
Morecombe Winter Gardens Trust