Overview

Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zones (HAZ) fund aims to champion and revive historic high streets. Funding can be used to deliver physical improvements and cultural activities which help to regenerate high streets and restore local historic character. The project is designed to encourage partnerships within the local community and with building owners and leaseholders to secure lasting improvements to buildings and the public realm. All HAZ areas have to be located within a conservation area. This is to ensure Grade listing controls can be applied and to safeguard the public investment and the long-term alterations which are made.

Funding

High Peak Borough Council (HPBC) selected the Spring Gardens area of Buxton as requiring the most regeneration and successfully applied for a grant in 2019, receiving £926,700. The HAZ will complement the Future High Street Fund application to regenerate this area of the town centre. Derbyshire County Council (DCC) is contributing £40,000 to the project, delivered through staff time for support from their Conservation Specialists, and HPBC is contributing ~£54,000 for HAZ interpretation and Facelift Grants for modern units (these will give 50% funding for developments). Further funding has been secured from Historic England to deliver public realm improvements along Spring Gardens.

Focus

Buxton’s HAZ will focus upon the following themes:

  • physical interventions to enhance the local heritage including repair and reinstatement of traditional shopfronts, signage and external façades
  • repair and conversion of vacant listed buildings
  • heritage interpretation at key visitor entrance points
  • cultural and educational programmes to celebrate the heritage of our high street
  • public realm improvements along Spring Gardens.

There are three aspects to a HAZ – building projects, community engagement and a cultural programme. Historic England will also deliver their Heritage Schools Programme, funded by the Department of Education, to our local schools to help school children develop an understanding of our local heritage and its significance. The project runs until March 2024.

Delivery

Delivery of the HAZ project was due to start in April 2020 but was delayed to November 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. HPBC appointed a HAZ Officer to oversee delivery of the project in late October 2020 to begin in mid-November 2020. The community and cultural aspects are being managed by two steering groups with community representatives.

See further information below or download the project leaflet or visit the HPBC website page.

The HAZ area includes Spring Gardens, Lower Hardwick Street, the Cavendish Arcade and Station Approach (see map below).

Physical Interventions

The building development aspect of the project is being coordinated by the HAZ Officer, Lisa Hooley. To find out more or to make an application, please contact her at BuxtonHAZ@highpeak.gov.uk, 07976 753993.

The Grove Hotel and White Lion are identified as key projects (see below). Red buildings on map are priority buildings identified as needing investment but all historic buildings within the area (shaded pink) are eligible. Blue buildings are modern buildings which have been earmarked for a HPBC Face Lift Grant.

Grants

All buildings within the HAZ area (shaded pink on map) are eligible for grant funding of 75% towards conservation-led repairs and restoration of shop fronts, upper floor external façades, architectural details and roofs/walls. Grants will cover professional fees (surveyors, architects etc). They will need to go through HPBC procurement process but a list of companies/specialists from which to choose is being prepared.

Grants will not be offered for routine maintenance, redecoration, internal repairs or works that involve the reversal of features that are themselves of quality and interest.

To be eligible for grant funding, the applicant must be the person who has legal responsibility for the repair of the building – the building owner or a tenant with a repairing lease. Where a tenant doesn’t have a repairing lease, the owner and a tenant could submit a joint application, in which case the tenant could be the point of contact and could receive the funding.

Grants will not be awarded for works which have already started.

Further funding, for non-heritage works will be available from the Future High Streets Fund grant.

Buxton HAZ area map

Key Projects: Grove Hotel & White Lion

Funding has been allocated for appraisals for viable uses of the Grove Hotel and White Lion and Lisa is in touch with both owners.

Canopies

Returning the canopies to the Cavendish Arcade and along Spring Gardens was originally an objective of Buxton’s HAZ application. In 2020, Lisa discussed their reinstatement with Historic England. Their view is that it would use most of the funding to do the necessary works and is therefore not viable for the HAZ. Other options are being explored, however.

Cultural Programme

The HAZ cultural programme is being managed by the ‘Cultural Consortium’ steering group which consists of 12 organisations and is being led by Joanne Williams, Director of Buxton International Festival, and Louise Cross, Director of Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust. Vision Buxton Vice-Chair, Adrian Brown, and Paul Kerryson, Chief Executive of the Buxton Opera House, are also part of this group. A representative from a young persons panel will also be part of the Consortium.

The Consortium will deliver a programme of vibrant events and activities to celebrate the cultural heritage of our high street. The programme will draw our community together in and around Spring Gardens to connect, enjoy, learn, participate, meet up with friends and family and have fun on our high street. It will become a stage, a gallery space and host free, accessible events with participatory arts and heritage activities.

Pilot Project – Capturing a Moment

Funding for a pilot project ‘Capturing a Moment’, was awarded in autumn 2020. The project aims to inspire, gather and retell living memories, stories and experiences of Spring Gardens via a film which will be projected onto the shops themselves. See the concept art below. It will be delivered in partnership with local story tellers, Babbling Vagabonds, and lighting specialists, Illuminos. The projection event, originally planned for February 2021, will now be delivered on 1 and 2 October 2021.

Main Programme

A £100,000 grant for a three year cultural programme to celebrate the heritage of Buxton’s Spring Gardens has been secured by the Consortium. Plans for the first year include an exhibition of portraits of the high street past and present using empty shop windows, street flags and digital displays. A quarter of the funding is reserved for young people’s programming with local young people sitting on a panel to advise on the activities. It will also be used to commission artworks and host events during the less busy parts of the year. Projects will build over the three years.

Community Engagement

A community engagement plan has been written and approved by Historic England. A Steering Group will be responsible for developing the plan further and the delivery of the plan.

The Steering Group is currently in process of being setting up. Initial members include representatives from Vision Buxton, Buxton Civic Association, Buxton Town Team, Connex Community Support and Buxton Street by Street and a HPBC Councillor for central Buxton. Additional members can be appointed.

The Group met in early June to agree its terms of reference and decide its activity priorities.

Project Timeline

Physical Interventions

July 2021 – tender for consultants to design, manage and deliver public realm improvements along Spring Gardens. Find out more here.

May 2021 – leaflet with grant details is released

August 2020 – photographers create a record of the appearance of the current buildings along Spring Gardens

Cultural

October 2021 – ‘Capturing a Moment’ projection event planned

May 2021 – £100,000 funding secured for main cultural programme

November 2020 – members of the public are requested to submit their memories and experiences of Spring Gardens.

September 2020 – funding secured for a pilot project

Community

June 2021 – Steering Group to agree terms of reference and decide activity priorities

For Further Information

HPBC’s HAZ website page
Buxton HAZ leaflet
HPBC HAZ Officer, Lisa Hooley – BuxtonHAZ@highpeak.gov.uk, 07976 753993
HPBC Regeneration Team – contact form
#BuxtonHAZ

Watch a recording of a presentation by Lisa to Vision Buxton members in June 2021 here.