Coventry City Council has received initial support for a Heritage Lottery Fund Townscape Heritage grant, which will enable work to progress plans for the regeneration of The Burges.
Development funding of £172k has been awarded to aid the Council’s bid for a full £1.9m grant at a later date.
Coventry City Council worked closely with Historic Coventry Trust to submit the application for Townscape Heritage (TH) funding, which supports partnership regeneration of areas rather than individual buildings.
The partnership project will see the Council, Trust and local businesses working together to restore the historic street frontages and open up the River Sherbourne in Palmer Lane and creation of a new square with restaurants and cafés will turn the river into an asset for local residents and visitors to the city.
The grant has previously been awarded on two occasions for Far Gosford Street and has been instrumental in that area’s regeneration. The same team will be delivering The Burges project.
Cllr Kevin Maton, Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Employment said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us their support for this project, which will help us continue the ongoing regeneration work taking place throughout Coventry.
“The site has been vacant and under-developed for many years now but these plans – aided by HLF Townscape Heritage grant funding - will enable us to completely transform this area and will complement the work at the nearby Transport Museum and Grammar School.
“Opening up part of the river will allow us to create a new vibrant public space with cafés and restaurants which will draw greater numbers of local people and visitors into the city centre. Revitalising historic buildings and areas to bring economic benefit to the city is extremely important and this grant will allow us to do just that at the Burges.”
Heritage Lottery Fund Chair, Sir Peter Luff, said: “Historic town centres are the beating heart of communities, so where they fall into disrepair, the community pays a heavy price. Research shows that this can be changed and that even small changes - improving shop fronts or restoring architectural features - can make a real difference.
“That's what the Townscape Heritage scheme does so successfully, providing a boost for local economies, with vital employment and training opportunities, start-up spaces for small businesses and enhanced public places for residents and visitors.
“Townscape Heritage funding has made a huge difference to communities across the UK and this is only possible thanks to National Lottery players.”
Ian Harrabin, Chairman of Historic Coventry Trust, said: “I have been working with the Council to try to get the regeneration of this area going for the past decade and this is a huge step forwards.
“It is no coincidence that the partnership has secured the funding following the success at Far Gosford Street and we hope to do even better here.
“The Burges is one of the most historic parts of the city and is very important to the City of Culture bid. The continued involvement of the Trust will ensure that the change is permanent.”