Cash boost to preserve town's heritage

A TOTAL of £250,000 is heading towards east Colchester to revitalise some of its decaying heritage and break the "spiral of decline".The cash boost is part of a £725,000 grant scheme announced by English Heritage to rescue and transform decaying rural and urban areas in the eastern region.

By Sharon Asplin

A TOTAL of £250,000 is heading towards east Colchester to revitalise some of its decaying heritage and break the "spiral of decline".

The cash boost is part of a £725,000 grant scheme announced by English Heritage to rescue and transform decaying rural and urban areas in the eastern region.

The grants are made under a fifth round of Heritage Economic Regeneration Schemes, which concentrate on neighbourhood businesses, high streets and corner shops – employment-generating activities which form the focus for community life and prosperity.


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In Colchester, English Heritage will pay just over £40,000 every year for the next three years to regenerate the eastern part of the town centre.

Match funding will be made available from Colchester Borough Council to complete projects, which will focus on external repairs, such as roofs, walls and doors.

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This will mean funds will soon be on their way to transform the castle end of Queen Street where it dissects with Culver Street East – long considered a twilight area of the town and already the focus of ambitious redevelopment plans.

Money will also be spent improving East Street, concentrating on the historic buildings heading from the Ipswich Road mini roundabout towards East Hill, opposite the former Charles Brown shop.

This joint funding should meet between 40% to 60% of the cost, with the remainder being found by the owners of the buildings concerned or other grant bodies.

Details of exactly which specific buildings will benefit in these areas are still being finalised but those particularly eligible for assistance are significant groups of Grade II buildings in conservation areas and unlisted buildings in conservation areas which make a major contribution to local character and provide the townscape focus for local communities.

James Ross, historic areas adviser for the East of England region of English Heritage, said: "Colchester is a significant town in England as it has at least 2,000 years of history that we know of and the local authority has been careful in noticing historic buildings which need repair and bringing them to our attention."

Nick Balaam, assistant regional director of English Heritage for the East of England, added: "This new round of grants will benefit a wide range of communities and, in each case, the local authority has identified what needs to be done to tackle both the physical and economic problems of the area and has presented us with a three-year rescue programme.

"By funding the repair and improvement of high street shops and the refurbishment of derelict buildings into new homes and businesses we can break the spiral of decline. Even small grants can make a difference, tipping the balance in favour of employment, new homes and investment."

In this latest wave of grant aid, English Heritage has awarded Sudbury a total of £300,000 over the next three years to regenerate peripheral mixed-use areas around the town centre.

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