The City Council has been working with partners to prepare the bid for Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Southgate Street Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI). News has today come in that it has secured £897,400 from the HLF.
This has been topped up by the City Council, enabling those living and working in the area to take advantage of nearly £1.2 million to carry out improvements on this key entrance to the city. The project will being in the next few months and will last for five years.
Councillor Paul James, Leader of Gloucester City Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration said: "Southgate Street is a key route into the city and an important link between Gloucester Quays and the city centre and it is important that we make a collective effort to improve its appearance.
"These grants are good for business. They can improve access to shops, help with window improvements, so goods can be displayed more effectively and make a major difference to the overall environment of the area."
Nerys Watts, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, added: “Today’s HLF funding announcement will make an important contribution to improving the local economy in Gloucester and improve the standard of living for residents.
“Investing lottery money to revitalise historic buildings at the heart of a community, not only makes a place more attractive to live, visit and invest in, it also provides jobs and training opportunities for local people.”
The partners involved in the project include: Gloucester City Council; the City Centre Community Partnership; Gloucester Civic Trust; Gloucester Historic Buildings Trust; English Heritage; St Mary Decrypt; GEAR; Young Gloucestershire; local schools & colleges; Gloucester Chamber of Commerce and Gloucestershire County Council.
The project will offer grant assistance to businesses, landlords and organisations in the Southgate Street area in order to:
- reinstate lost architectural detailing (such as windows, doors, shopfronts, gates and railings) and enhance those properties where insensitive alterations have taken place
- return vacant floorspace within historic buildings into beneficial use
- enable repairs to the external structure of buildings;
- improve the quality and design of the public realm within the city centre
- strengthen / reinforce the historic line along Southgate Street into the city centre; and
- raise awareness of the historic environment and the area's special character through actively engaging with local residents and community groups. Projects will include heritage training days, work experience in traditional building skills and local history projects with schools.
Southgate Street was the early route from the city’s South Gate southwards towards Bristol, with its roots going back to Roman times. The area today is characterised by 19th century buildings (many of which are listed) associated with the growth of Gloucester Docks and the former Gloucester Spa.
The oldest building within the scheme area is St Mary de Crypt Church dating from c1140 and is Grade I listed. The area has suffered significantly from the downturn in the economy, and the subsequent lack of investment has resulted in a decline in the condition of the buildings and public realm.
Natalie Wilder, Communications Officer at Gloucester City Council on 01452 396103, email: Natalie.Wilder@gloucester.gov.uk.
Laura Bates, HLF press office on 020 7591 6027, email: email@example.com.