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.