Exciting plans to restore historic buildings in the centre of Nottingham are in the pipeline, thanks to a conservation area grant scheme.
Four shops on Market Street together with ten on Wheeler Gate have been awarded grant funding from Nottingham’s Heritage Action Zone, which will see their historic shop fronts and features reinstated, helping to improve the condition and appearance of the buildings, whilst restoring their historic character.
Nottingham’s Heritage Action Zone, which is supported with funding from Historic England, is part of a five year project worth £2.7million overall for heritage led-regeneration, and is aimed at saving and transforming historic and neglected buildings in and around Old Market Square, the Lace Market, and Sneinton Market Conservation Areas.
The scheme aims to improve the attractiveness of the city centre, breathe new life into some of the city’s neglected historic buildings and transform the city centre’s ‘at-risk’ conservation areas. It also aims to boost the city’s economy; with upwards of 12 million visitors per year, tourism in the city was worth an estimated £656m in 2018, which will be vital in supporting businesses as they start to recover from Covid-19.
The buildings on Market Street and Wheeler Gate will benefit from repairs to their frontages and restoration of their historic shopfronts. Old photographs and original architectural drawings helped to authenticate some of the proposals for the reinstatement of their stunning historic features, which include replacing the existing shopfronts with traditional hardwood frames and hand-painted signage.
The four buildings on Market Street set for restoration are 9, 15, 21 and 32. Two are existing businesses, Page 45 and the Dental Care Centre, and the other two are currently vacant and will be brought back into use with new tenants.
Six existing businesses at 7-23 Wheeler Gate are also set to benefit and it is hoped that the regeneration scheme will bring back into use four additional units in the building. The scheme will complement existing works by the owner to convert the upper floors above the shops into apartments within this key building in the Old Market Square conservation area.
Planning applications have been submitted and if approved, works are due to start in October and be completed by spring 2021.
These plans add to the success of other Heritage Action Zone projects like 34 Market Street, 32 Upper Parliament Street and the Birkin Building and complement other heritage regeneration schemes like the Townscape Heritage Scheme, which is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund for restoration works to historic buildings in the Carrington Street and Station Street area.
Councillor Linda Woodings, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing & Heritage, said: “Schemes like The Heritage Action Zone are really important in helping owners restore and protect their historic buildings, which otherwise might be lost.
“Nottingham is proud of its past and ambitious for its future, and supported mainly with grants from Historic England, along with some investment from the council and building owners, shows a real commitment to the city’s heritage, helping to bring historic buildings back to life so they become an asset for the city’s economy once again.
“These schemes alongside projects like the transformation of Nottingham Castle, not only help to protect the city’s historic character, but can lead to further investment, boost tourism and create jobs.”
Louise Brennan, Midlands Regional Director of Historic England said: “Historic England has long championed our historic high streets – and Nottingham’s rich heritage is clear for all to see in its city centre. We are delighted to be investing in the repair and revitalisation of these historic buildings. These grants will not only see the buildings restored but will also help breathe new cultural and economic life into the area that will hopefully lead to a bright future for the high street.”
Jonathan Rigby of Page 45 on Market Street said, “Originally our intention was to simply replace the existing aluminium shop front like-for-like due to the cost. However, the grant funding scheme means we will now be able to install a traditional shop front of real character that customers will be drawn to.”