Dewsbury Heritage Action Zone is to benefit from £2 million pounds of investment funds from the council's capital plan committed by Kirklees Councillors at a Cabinet meeting on 21st August.
The Dewsbury Heritage Action Zone is one of eight designated by Historic England in December 2017 and described as 'Dewsbury Living Market Town'. The announcement was accompanied by a grant offer of £550,000.
The intention of Heritage Action Zones is to create economic growth and improve quality of life. In December 2017 Kirklees announced the intention of the project to 'improve the condition and appearance of key buildings, and introduce new activity into the town through finding new uses for empty buildings and sites.'
What will the money be used for?
Bringing neglected, underused or empty buildings back into use is an effective way to increase 'footfall', that is the number of people passing through an area. More people means more money spent leading to regeneration of the area. The cabinet report identified 5 key objectives.
Dewsbury Heritage Action Zone: 5 key objectives
- To improve the condition, appearance and sustainability of key buildings and sites within the Dewsbury Town Centre Conservation Area
- Support the living town concept introducing new activity through the reuse of vacant buildings and sites
- To develop a new heritage home ownership model with Historic England
- To improve public spaces within the town centre and connectivity between them
- To deliver a programme of engagement with participation from all communities to recognise and celebrate the areas heritage
With a range of circumstances and multiple property owners and landlords to deal with the council has developed a package of grants, loans, rental guarantees and other support mechanisms. Selecting the most appropriate support for each situation will allow the council to minimise the risk associated with each property they deal with.
Focus on Daisy Hill
The Cabinet report recognises that the scale of the problem far exceeds the amount of money available. As a result, efforts will be concentrated on the Daisy Hill area although this is not exclusive and other buildings in the town centre though still within the established Conservation Area may still be considered.
The council report identifies the following projects within the HAZ timeframe much of which appear to involve study and analysis in the early part in order to determine the best way to proceed.
Project 1: Baseline Data and Evaluation
Work has commenced on this and will be drawn together during 2018.
Project 2: Daisy Hill/Bond Street Historic Area Appraisal
To be commissioned by Historic England in summer 2018.
Project 3: Review and Enrichment of Historic Listings
Historic England to review historic buildings listings across the HAZ area,
throughout the life of the HAZ. .
Project 4: Daisy Hill/Bond Street – Development Framework
This will consider options about how the area can be developed and will be
completed by the autumn.
Project 5: Heritage Home Ownership Model
This will follow on from the projects 2, 3 & 4.
Project 6: Community Engagement Programme
This is being scoped out and it is anticipated will commence in autumn 2018
and run until the end of the HAZ programme in March 2023.
Project 7: Repurposing Historic Buildings
Officers are in contact with two owners about potential schemes.
Historic England's initial announcement included:
There will be opportunities for the public to get involved throughout the work of the HAZ, to inform our understanding of the heritage that is valued and to help shape the future for the historic town.
Historic England announcement
.. and note the Councils key objectives include:
Kirklees Cabinet report
21 August 2018
While there has been some frustration in the town about the lack of information from the council over the last 9 months about the direction and priorities of the Heritage Action Zone the Next Steps section of the Cabinet report includes Project 6: Community Engagement Project which is 'anticipated will commence in Autumn 2018'.
We look forward to hearing shortly how the Council will be engaging with the businesses and the people of Dewsbury on the Dewsbury Heritage Action Zone..