Dudley Council has just been awarded a £1.1m grant from The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through the Townscape Heritage Programme.
This is the second round of HLF support for the regeneration of Dudley town centre. The first phase of the Dudley Historic Townscape Heritage scheme was completed in 2015, and included the repair and re-use of a number of historic buildings, including the Old Glasshouse, Dudley’s first ever fire station and a locally listed site originally occupied by Dudley Flint Glass works.
Other buildings to benefit from specialist, sympathetic restoration include The Crown Public House in Wolverhampton Street, Baylies Hall in Tower Street, Charlton House in New Street, Bogart's Hair & Beauty in Wolverhampton Street and Holloway Hall & Chambers in Priory Street. All of these buildings are now in use as business or retail units.
The recently awarded HLF grant of over £1.1million will progress plans and allow the re-use of a further 14 historic buildings linking Dudley’s retail area to the Civic Quarter which was the focus of phase one of the scheme. It will help the council work with small and growing businesses so that further repairs and restoration work can be carried out on important buildings within the town centre.
The project will also be complemented with valuable learning, community engagement and business opportunities which will improve the quality of life for local people. This will include a town centre geology trail, a smartphone app, heritage open days and town ambassador training sessions.
The work aims to make Dudley town centre a more pleasant and attractive place to work, shop and visit, with beneficial knock-on effects for local businesses and traders as more people head to Dudley for their retail and leisure needs, while also making the town centre more attractive to potential new businesses and investors.
Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF West Midlands, said:
“We believe that historic townscapes are the beating heart of local places. Therefore, HLF is pleased to continue to support Dudley Council in the regeneration of its historic town centre.
“Thanks to National Lottery players, the funding will support the next stage of Dudley’s successful regeneration project, proving that even small changes, such as improving shop fronts or restoring a building’s historic features, can make a real difference to the economic and social wealth of communities.”
Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, cabinet member for planning and economic development said:
“We are really grateful for this second significant boost of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. We’ve already seen how this money can transform buildings and breathe new life into our town centre, with many new businesses hastening to take over these rejuvenated buildings.
“We have big plans for this second phase of investment, which will run over the next four years and will see the restoration of 14 key town centre properties. This project will only help to build on the significant transformation work we have already delivered in the town centre over the last few years which has included the new marketplace and public toilets, rededicated Duncan Edwards Statue and refurbished fountain, new seating, lighting and public art as well as the development of Dudley Business Group.”
Dudley Council was initially awarded in 2010 an HLF grant of £1.9m for the Dudley Historic Townscape Heritage Scheme to redevelop Dudley Town Centre’s Civic Quarter, which was completed in 2015. The next phase of the project was secured in June 2016 when Dudley Council was awarded a further £1,178,000 HLF grant to progress the renovation plans.
Notes to editors:
Dudley’s Townscape Heritage programme funds various works which will have a positive impact on the conservation and regeneration of historic areas including:
Structural and external repair of historic buildings
Authentic restoration of architectural features to historic buildings
Works of repair and conversion to bring back into use vacant or underused historic floorspace
Also part of the eligible TH projects are activities designed to widen knowledge, understanding and awareness of the heritage
The overarching objective is to increase the economic activity in the town’s commercial core by using the historic environment as a positive resource to safeguard and create employment opportunities while improving the quality of life for the local community and visitors.
This programme builds on the success a previous scheme funding by HLF which have seen a number of buildings refurbished including The Crown Public House in Wolverhampton Street, Baylies Hall in Tower Street, 168 High Street, 22 Stone Street, Charlton House in New Street, Bogart's Hair & Beauty in Wolverhampton Street, Elizabeth House and Holloway Hall & Chambers in Priory Street