Plans to invest £1.8 million into revitalising the historic Brierley Hill High Street while preserving its past have been hailed a huge boost for the busy shopping area.
The government announced Brierley Hill would be one of 68 High Streets to get a share of a £95 million government-funded High Street Heritage Action Zone programme which is being delivered by Historic England.
The Brierley Hill High Street Heritage Action (HSHAZ) will get £1.8million to secure lasting improvements to the historic High Street and the people who use it. The scheme was today hailed a huge boost by council and community leaders.
The money will be used to make improvements to the public realm and properties along the High Street by investing in repairs, reinstatement of architectural details and bringing vacant floor space back into use. It will also help to engage the local communities through heritage, art and cultural projects and play a key role in the economic and social recovery of the town centre and borough.
Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said:
"It is fantastic news for Brierley Hill that Historic England are supporting the town’s historic High Street. This money will help to bring some of the town’s historic buildings and public spaces back to life and help preserve them for many years to come.
"This investment will make a huge difference to not only the appearance of the town but also to its vibrance and vitality by attracting more people to live, work and visit the town.
"We’ve also put a bid into government for nearly £10million as part of their Future High Streets Fund, which if successful, would bring about even more change including connecting the town to the new Metro stop, creating new housing and retail opportunities and improving traffic flow and air quality. It really is an exciting time for Brierley Hill."
Tim Sunter, chair of Brierley Hill Community Forum, said:
"There are a lot of people in Brierley Hill who care about its future and want to see the town succeed and prosper in the years ahead.
"We welcome the news from Historic England and can’t wait to work with the council to put the money to good use and show local people that things are changing.
"We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the town’s bid to the Future High Streets Fund is also successful as this would really up the ante for the town."
Details on the work will be drawn up over the coming months including working with historic building owners and occupiers to provide more information about the grants that are available. Links will also be made with community groups and Brierley Hill Community Forum to make sure as many people as possible play a part in the town’s regeneration.