Heritage led regeneration schemes have helped to transform parts of Dudley by strengthening the self-image of areas to recreate viable and attractive places, and encouraging sustained inward investments and levering in significant amounts of capital to sustain and create local jobs.
Heritage led regeneration is a very constructive method for bringing about conservation. In 2013 Historic England published ‘Heritage Works: The use of historic buildings in regeneration’.
This Historic England document sets out a strong economic case for regenerating historic buildings, and the benefits relating to not only the individual building but also to the wider area and community. The inclusion of heritage assets in regeneration schemes provides a focus and catalyst for sustainable change whilst also being an important part of our wellbeing economy. Every year Historic England publishes their ‘Heritage Counts’ research which provides evidence of the value of heritage to our economy, society and environment.
As a Council, we have been successful in obtaining external funding to support heritage led regeneration throughout Dudley. Funding has been obtained from Historic England from their Partnership Scheme in Conservation Areas (PSICA), formerly known as Heritage Economic Regeneration Schemes and from the government-funded High Street Heritage Action Zone Programme (HSHAZ), which is operating in Brierley Hill High Street Conservation Area. These schemes are run by the local authority and are designed to target funding for the preservation and enhancement of conservation areas.
A similar scheme has been provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) with their Townscape Heritage programme. We were successful in securing two of these schemes for the Dudley Town Centre Conservation Area.
Additional funding has also been obtained from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and from the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (BCLEP) where funding was made available to bring vacant historic buildings back into a viable use whilst also delivering key outputs for the funder.
Examples include the former Stuart Crystal site (known as the Whitehouse Cone) site which received ERDF funding.
We will continue to seek opportunities for further funding of this nature for use throughout Dudley.
National Lottery Heritage Fund is the largest single funder of heritage led regeneration in the UK. Throughout Dudley there are a number of projects that have been successful in obtaining funding from this source. Recent projects include Mary Stevens Park, Priory Park, the Tecton Structures within Dudley Zoo, Lye & Wollescote Cemetery Chapel, the Harris and Pearson Building, Glass House College, Dudley Canal Trust, Black Country Living Museum and Dudley Town Centre via the Townscape Heritage Scheme. Details of the types of projects that are eligible for funding can be found on the National Lottery Heritage Fund web page. We, in collaboration with other stakeholders will continue to seek funding opportunities for heritage assets within Dudley.
In 2016, Dudley Council won the Regional RTPI Award for ‘planning excellence’ for the Old Glasshouse project, with judges commending the heritage-led regeneration and its joint approach by the project team and funders (National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England and Dudley Council). In 2017, the project received a finalists Award from the RTPI National Awards for Excellence.