Wellingborough Council is celebrating an award of more than £1.4million to protect and enhance the town’s heritage and history.
The money, which has been secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will be spent over five years on restoring key buildings, improving town centre shop fronts, establishing a heritage trail, and providing training and education on traditional trades such as stonemasonry.
Property owners will be able to apply for a share of the cash in the form of a grant, which they can use to help with restoration and improvement work. Key buildings that will be eligible for grant assistance include the Grade II listed Hind Hotel in the town centre, which dates back to 1645, the former RAOB club, and the Old Bake House on Broad Green. Shop owners along Market Street, Sheep Street, Silver Street, High Street and Cambridge Street will be able to apply for grants to return their shop fronts to their former glory with the use of natural period materials.
Part of the lottery money will be used by the council to work with schools and community groups to develop and promote the town's heritage trail. This would take people on a tour through Wellingborough's medieval streets, explaining the history and architecture behind buildings such as the Golden Lion, Swanspool House, Croyland Hall and Abbey, the Tithe Barn, Hatton Hall and 28 Church Street.
Councillor Graham Lawman, chairman of the council's development committee said: "This is an exciting time for Wellingborough and we're delighted to receive the news that we have been successful in securing the money from the Heritage Lottery Fund. We have a lot of history in our town, and some really beautiful buildings, and we will be able to restore and protect this heritage so that it can be enjoyed for generations to come. When we were applying for the funding we formed a robust and well-informed group of local historians, councillors, business owners and colleges to help us form our plans, and they will continue to support us as the money is spent. This will ensure that as Wellingborough moves forward with new developments and growth, we can also make the most of the character and heritage appeal of our town."
Emma Sayer, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said: "We at HLF are delighted to be able to support Wellingborough Council in their plans to revitalise the centre of the town. These shared spaces form a large part of our urban landscape, creating a backdrop to millions of people's daily lives. Heritage-led regeneration projects such as this can help transform our town centres, boosting local economies whilst ensuring these much loved historic buildings are preserved for future generations to enjoy."
Wellingborough Council has been awarded £1,425,100 of lottery money, which will be supplemented with £706,977 of council funds and £757,302 from property owners, meaning a total of £2,889,379 will be available to invest in Wellingborough. Over the five-year scheme it is expected that the money will help the preservation of eight major properties and recapture the heritage of at least twenty shop fronts. A grant will be available for smaller repairs to at least twenty-five other properties. A sum of £128,699 has been allocated to public realm projects, including improvements to the war memorial at Broad Green. It is expected that work will start on a number of the projects by the end of the year.