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.


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.


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 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 was coordinated by HAZ Officer, Lisa Hooley.

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

Shopfront Grants

All buildings within the HAZ area (shaded pink on map) were 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 could cover professional fees (surveyors, architects etc). They needed to go through HPBC procurement process but a list of companies/specialists from which to choose was prepared.

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

Eligibility for grant funding, was restricted to those who have 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 were not awarded for works which have already started.

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

Key Project: 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 were explored, however.

HPBC was awarded a ~£2k grant to fund a survey of the colonnade to inform future conservation and repair needs.

Buxton HAZ area map

Key Project: The Grove Hotel

An appraisal for viable uses of the Grove Hotel  has taken place. The owners Robinson’s sold the building in December 2021. An application for change of use to private accommodation is expected, whilst retaining the ground floor shops units. £72,000 was been set-aside for developing the shop units.


Key Project: The White Lion

Funding for an appraisal for viable uses of the White Lion has been allocated. Lisa is in touch with the owners. A £200k grant has been secured for urgent structural works – it is Grade-II listed and on the at-risk register. Work was carried out from February 2022.

Key Project: Slopes Missing Urn

Alongside additional HPBC funding, funding is being used to reinstate one of the twelve missing urns on the Slopes which were removed several years ago due to safety concerns. A new urn was carved by a specialist contractor to match the existing urns. Once completed, it was stored for a year to harden before being reinstated on the Slopes in November 2023.

Cultural Programme

The HAZ cultural programme was managed by the ‘Cultural Consortium’ steering group which consisted of 12 organisations and was led by Joanne Williams, Director of Buxton International Festival (and previously Louise Cross, Director of Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust). Vision Buxton’s then Vice-Chair, Adrian Brown, represented our members in this group.

The Consortium delivered a programme of vibrant events and activities to celebrate the cultural heritage of our high street. The programme aimed to 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 was to become a stage, a gallery space and host free, accessible events with participatory arts and heritage activities.

Events were delivered under the banner of ‘Our Street’. Visit the website here.

Pilot Project – Capturing a Moment

A pilot project ‘Capturing a Moment’, aimed to inspire, gather and retell living memories, stories and experiences of Spring Gardens via a film to projected onto the shops themselves. It was delivered in partnership with local story tellers, Babbling Vagabonds, and lighting specialists, Illuminos. The projection event, originally planned for February 2021, took place on 1 and 2 October 2021, projected onto the old Marks & Spencer unit.

Main Programme

A £100,000 grant for a three year cultural programme to celebrate the heritage of Buxton’s Spring Gardens was secured. Projects for the first year included 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 was reserved for youth activities. A representative from a young persons panel was part of the Consortium. The project built over the three years, delivering creative workshops with local artists and commissioned projectionists ‘Illuminos’ to create building digital projections for four buildings across the town. These were performed during February 2024 half-term, culminating with an event in Spring Gardens.

Community Engagement

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

Initial members of the Steering Group included 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 could be appointed.

The Group met in early June 2021 to agree its terms of reference and decide its activity priorities. Following the meeting in October, Historic England approved the revised engagement plan.

In December 2021, it was agreed that the Community Engagement Plan would be delivered by the Cultural Consortia in conjunction with the Cultural Programme and the steering group disbanded.

Cultural Programme

Youth Panel

A youth panel was set-up to for 14-25 year olds to work with practitioners and organisations to help deliver cultural interaction, connection and engagement along Spring Gardens for children and young people.

Event took place from 19 March 2022 to the project culmination in February 2024.

Project Timeline

Physical Interventions

Feb 2024 – shopfront works on Lighthouse charity shop completed.

Nov 2023 – new urn installed on The Slopes.

Nov 2023 – shopfront works on 70-72 Spring Gardens (Lighthouse charity shop) begins.

Sep 2023 – shopfront works on Pondon Homes and Fitzgerald’s Bakery completed.

May 2023 – shopfront works begin on 3C Grove Parade (now Buxton Hearing Centre)

Mar 2023 – shopfront reinstatement works begin on 6-8 Spring Gardens (Pondon Homes) and 10-12 Spring Gardens (Fitzgerald’s Bakery)

Feb 2022 – urgent structural repair work begins on The White Lion

Jan 2022 – consultants IBI Group from Didsbury engaged for the ‘uplift to the public realm’ in Spring Gardens expected to bring concept proposals.

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

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


Feb 2024Illuminate Buxton digital projections onto buildings in Burbage, Harpur Hill, Fairfield and Spring Gardens over 21-24 February

Jan 2024 – display of gargoyles created at community workshops in an empty unit in Spring Gardens.

Oct 2023 – series of community workshops take place to produce artwork inspired by Buxton with a variety of local artists.

Jun 2023 – launch of Old Haunts, audio trail along Spring Gardens.

Feb 2023The Word on the Street, spoken word with Creeping Toad; The Curing Chemist, street theatre with Babbling Vagabonds

Oct 2022Fun Palace at the Pump Room

Mar 2022Portrait Photography project

Dec 2021 – photographer working on Past v Present project

Oct 2021Capturing a Moment projection event

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

Nov 2020 – members of the public are requested to submit their memories and experiences of Spring Gardens for Capturing a Moment.

Sep 2020 – funding secured for pilot project Capturing a Moment

Cultural – Youth

Nov 2023 – performances of Resonate, celebrating the women of Derbyshire.

Oct 2023 – youth musician workshops

Sep 2023 – rehearsals start for Resonate, celebrating the women of Derbyshire, with Mad Hatters Music and REC Youth Theatre

Apr 2023Orchestras Live, performances on Spring Gardens with young musicians from Peak District Music Centres and the Northern Chamber Orchestra

Apr 2023Lost Cats of Buxton workshops and parade

Oct 2022Spooky Saturday at The Pump Room

Mar 2022 – first event to be held to form youth panel


Dec 2021 – Steering Group disbanded

Oct 2021 – Historic England approved the Buxton HAZ – Get involve Activity Plan

Jun 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
Our Street website

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