England, Midlands & East: Committee decisions December 2020

Minutes of the meeting of the Committee for England, Midlands & East on 9 December 2020 held via Microsoft Teams.

Members

Sue Beardsmore (Chair)

Marion Blockley

Heather Broughton

John Everitt

Jim Harker

Perdita Hunt

Izzy Mohammad

Phil Rothwell

Helen Wilson

 

Apologies

None

 

Committee Business

1. Welcomes and apologies

Sue Beardsmore, the Chair, welcomed everyone to the sixth meeting of the Committee for England, Midlands & East. She thanked Perdita Hunt for attending the Committee and welcomed the other guests and presenters to the meeting.

The Chair had received no apologies prior to the meeting.

2. Minutes of the meeting held on 16/09/2020 and matters arising

The minutes were approved and signed as a true record of the meeting. There were no matters arising.

3. Declarations of interest

The following conflicting interests were declared and as such members were not present in discussions for those applications or any subsequent voting and prioritisation.

Item 15: Black Country Living Museum: Forging ahead – Creating a world class visitor attraction in the Black Country

Marion Blockley had a conflict of interest with Black Country Living Museum. She worked as a consultant on the project team for their original bid.

Item 18: Northamptonshire County Council: Chester Farm

Jim Harker had a conflict of interest with Northamptonshire County Council. Jim was the leader of the council during the development and delivery phases of this project. He was also the founding director of the trust which had subsequently been wound up.

The following interests were declared and were not deemed conflicting. The Members remained present for the discussions:

Item 13: Gainsborough House: Reviving an Artist’s Birthplace: A National Centre for Gainsborough

Perdita Hunt and Helen Wilson both had connections with Mark Bills director of Gainsborough House.

Perdita Hunt employed Mark Bills as a curator of the Watts Gallery (2007-2014).

Helen Wilson was chair of the Culture Board of which Mark Bills was a previous member.

4. Chair’s Report

The Chair thanked the Committee for their support in these continued challenging circumstances. She highlighted the budget session and recommended that it was valuable to attend if the opportunity arose. She suggested it would be a good induction for new Committee members. The Chair also highlighted for attention the series of webinars hosted by Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP.

5. Corporate Update

The Executive Director of Business Delivery presented the update on corporate activity.

6. Area Director’s Report

The Director for England, Midlands & East, presented the Area report.

 

SF4 Delivery round applications for discussion and decision

The Director presented a short budget update and reminded the Committee about the requirements of the SF4 Heritage Grants and Heritage Enterprise programmes at second round.

7. Wisbech St Peter and St Paul: A Church for the Future

Grantee: Wisbech St Peter and St Paul Church

Request: £363,200 (62%)

Uplift: £12,900 (4%)

Project: St Peter and St Paul's Church was both physically and strategically placed to become a community, learning and heritage hub in this key Fenland town. The church had changed dramatically over its 900-year-history, but now this unique and inspiring building was on the Heritage at Risk Register, in need of urgent repairs including to the roof and stonework. The project would restore and enhance the building so that it could meet the needs of the growing, multi-cultural community.

The Committee for the East of England had awarded a first round pass of £406,600 including a development grant of £56,300 (70% of total eligible development costs) in December 2018.

The Committee for England, Midlands & East agreed the application represented a high priority for support and awarded a grant of £363,200 (62%).

8. Forward St Barnabas

Grantee: St Barnabas Church, Brampton Bryan

Request: £236,000 (72%)

Project: ‘Forward St Barnabas’ would secure the future of the Grade I listed church and engage people in a celebration of its past. The church was on the Heritage at Risk Register. The project was to revive St Barnabas’ and ensure its sustainability for the benefit of present and future generations. It would involve a seven month capital scheme to repair the building and remove it from the risk register. St Barnabas’ physical regeneration presents an opportunity to engage people with its unique heritage, which would be achieved through an 18-month programme of community activity and new interpretation.

The Committee for the West Midlands had awarded a first round pass of £261,000, including development grant of £25,000 (72% of eligible development costs) in December 2018.

The Committee for England, Midlands & East agreed the application represented a high priority for support and awarded a grant of £236,000 (72%)

9. Taylor's: Saving the last bell foundry in Britain

Grantee: The Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust

Request: £3,455,400 (63%)

Project: Taylor’s is the last bellfoundry in Britain, the only vestige of an ancient industry that creates bells for thousands of buildings around the world. At least 20 million people in Britain and hundreds of millions worldwide hear a Taylor bell every day. The project would save the site, removing it from the Heritage at Risk register; secure the future of the industry in Britain and its unique skills; create a new national Bell Museum; improve global engagement; and ensure Taylor bells are enjoyed by future generations around the world.

The Board awarded a grant of £3,754,000 including development grant of £298,600 (80% of total eligible development costs) in September 2018.

The Committee for England, Midlands & East agreed the application represented a high priority for support and awarded a grant of £3,455,400 (63%).

10. Prioritisation of Delivery round applications

All projects were awarded the grants as requested.

 

SFF Delivery round applications for discussion and decision

11. St Mary’s Guildhall Coventry Transformation

Grantee: Coventry City Council

Request: £1,429,800 (70%)

Project: The Transformation Project would allow St Mary’s Guildhall to become a successful all year-round visitor attraction, a key part of Coventry’s emerging Cathedral Quarter. The project would be delivered in parallel with capital works (c.£5.6m) to ensure the Grade I listed Guildhall played a significant role in celebrating the City of Culture 2021, providing a heritage offer alongside arts and culture. Visitors would learn about the fascinating history of the Guildhall as a centre for trade and commerce, former national seat of power and a place visited by royals, through a multi-layered approach to storytelling including digital interpretation via a tablet tour. The project would conserve and better display the Coventry Tapestry created in 1500.

The Committee for England, Midlands & East had awarded a development grant of £78,200 (65% of eligible development costs) and a potential delivery grant of £1,762,700 (75%) in March 2020.

The Committee for England, Midlands & East agreed the application represented a high priority for support and awarded a grant of £1,429,800 (70%).

12. Prioritisation of Delivery round applications

The project was awarded the grant as requested.

 

SF4 Grant Increase applications for decision

The Director explained the situation regarding budgets for grant increases. All requests could be accommodated in the National Lottery Heritage Fund or DCMS Capital Kickstart budgets if decision makers were satisfied with the case for support.

13. Reviving an Artist’s Birthplace: A National Centre for Gainsborough

Grantee: Gainsborough's House Society

Request: Grant Increase of £613,100 to make a total grant of £5,066,200 (68%)

Project: The project aims were to refurbish and reinterpret the Grade I listed Gainsborough House, construct a new three storey exhibition wing and performance space, improve visitor facilities and deliver activities to widen audiences so that they could learn about the house and the story of Thomas Gainsborough.

The Board had awarded a grant of £4,453,100 (65%) in July 2018.

The Committee for England, Midlands & East awarded a grant increase of £613,100 to make the total grant £5,066,200.

14. Roundhouse Birmingham – an innovative blend of historical discovery, outdoor activities and urban enterprise

Grantee: Roundhouse Birmingham (Canal & River Trust and National Trust)

Request: Grant Increase of £294,800 to make a total grant of £2,763,600 (65%)

Project: The project concerned the repair and renovation of the Grade II* listed Roundhouse and its two Grade II listed gatehouses located in Ladywood, Birmingham. The Roundhouse was a horseshoe-shaped, two-storey brick building dating back to 1874 which sat adjacent to Birmingham’s main canal. It stabled 18 horses used by the corporation of Birmingham’s lighting, street repairs and sewage departments until 1954. It was later used for general storage and declined from the 1970s onwards. It was placed on the Heritage at Risk Register in 2014.

The Board had awarded a grant of £2,468,800, 74% of total eligible delivery costs in March 2017.

The Committee for England, Midlands & East awarded a grant increase of £294,800 to make a total grant of £2,763,600.

 

DCMS Capital Kickstart Applications for discussion and recommendation to Board

Marion Blockley left the meeting due to her conflict of interest with the Black Country Living Museum project.

15. BCLM: Forging Ahead – Creating a world class visitor attraction in the Black Country

Grantee: Black Country Living Museum

Request: Grant Increase of £5,950,000 to make a total grant of £15,350,000 (51%)

Project: The project aimed to expand and significantly improve the visitor experience at Black Country Living Museum (BCLM): the UK's second most visited open-air museum. It would grow the historic site by a third, creating a new historic development set in the 1940s-60s and double the amount of BCLM's Designated Collection on display.

The Board had awarded a grant of £9,400,000 (41% of total eligible costs) in March 2019.

The Committee for England, Midlands & East recommended the grant increase request to the Board as a high priority for support.

Helen Wilson left the meeting due to work commitments.

16. @Play-Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Grantee: Wicksteed Charitable Trust

Request: Grant Increase of £302,700 to make a total grant of £2,089,800

Project: To complete the vision to restore the historic heart of Wicksteed Park, a 12 hectare Grade II Registered Park founded in 1916 by the pioneering industrialist and philanthropist Charles Wicksteed. The project will showcase its heritage features supported by an extensive programme of heritage, learning, community and environmental activities.

The Committee for England, Midlands & East recommended the grant increase request to the Board as a high priority for support.

17. Lincoln Cathedral Connected

Grantee: Lincoln Cathedral

Request: Grant Increase of £973,600 to make a total grant of £12,429,700 (80%)

Project: The project would address urgent repairs to the cathedral and increase visitor numbers to ensure its long-term sustainability. Interpretation of the cathedral’s stories and forgotten symbolism would be improved by introducing guided tours, exhibitions and digital media. A programme of activities would be delivered to encourage new and diverse audiences and to take the cathedral into communities through outreach and exhibitions.

The Board had awarded a grant of £11,456,100 (76%) in January 2017.

The Committee for England, Midlands & East recommended the grant increase request to the Board as a high priority for support.

Jim Harker left the meeting due to his conflict of interest with the Chester Farm project.

18. Chester Farm

Grantee: Northamptonshire County Council

Request: Grant Increase of £719,700 to make a total grant of £4,686,900

Project: To transform the Grade II* listed Chester Farm complex from its derelict state into a bespoke archaeological archives and resource centre. The project would also provide the opportunity for on-site excavation of the Roman walled town of Irchester over the next 25 years. The project would remove the complex from English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk Register. The complex was located in an area of a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Nature Improvement Area.

The Board had awarded a grant £3,967,200, (52% of eligible costs) in July 2013.

The Committee for England, Midlands & East recommended the grant increase request to the Board as a high priority for support.

SF4 Grant Increase applications for discussion and recommendation to Board

19. Unlocking the Severn for People and Wildlife

Grantee: Canal & River Trust

Request: Grant Increase of £590,000 to make a total grant of £11,167,200

Project: The project would remove barriers along the entire River Severn and lower River Teme and allow both rivers to be re-opened for migration to all fish species and in particular benefit and improve the UK population status of the twaite shad (Alosa Fallax) which was in decline. The project would open 253km of spawning habitat for twaite shad and other species, construct the UK’s first viewing gallery alongside a range of learning opportunities for the local community.

The Board had awarded a grant of £10,577,200 in July 2018.

The Committee for England, Midlands & East recommended the grant increase request to the Board as a high priority for support.

Any other business

There was no other business.

The next meeting would be held on 17 March 2021.