Craven District Council has been successful in securing funding of £1,278,480 from Historic England for improvements to Skipton High Street.
The High Street Heritage Action Zone, led by Craven District Council, will find new uses for historic buildings in and around the High Street.
The project also aims to attract younger people to the town centre through the creation of public spaces for cultural activities, and the development of youth markets and festivals.
Councillor Simon Myers, Craven District Council’s Lead Member for Enterprising Craven, said: “We’re delighted to have secured this funding and work is already underway to make Skipton town centre even more inviting and prosperous.
“We have a range of exciting plans including creating more public space for people to relax and visit events and markets. We’re looking at ways to improve the ginnels running off the High Street, and have plans to bring more of the historic buildings around the town centre back into use.
“This funding will help with the complete refurbishment taking place at Skipton Town Hall, and we are also drawing up proposals to create artists’ studio space and affordable housing for young people.
“We will be looking to plan events around the town centre to celebrate its historical heritage as part of this project; however, with restrictions still in place due to the pandemic, we are also looking for ways we can create more digital entertainment and events safely for people to enjoy.”
Charles Smith, Acting Regional Director for Historic England in the North East and Yorkshire, said: “Every high street in England has a distinctive history that can be harnessed to help it achieve a prosperous future.
“Investing in heritage delivers good results for people – it means looking after and celebrating the places at the heart of our communities, and the buildings and public spaces which define their character. This investment for our Historic High Streets Action Zone scheme in Yorkshire will unlock the potential of these precious high streets in the region and help them thrive again.”
Eight other high streets across Yorkshire have been given the green light for regeneration schemes to aid their economic recovery.
The schemes aim to give high streets a new lease of life and help them recover from declining footfall and the blow dealt by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The High Streets Heritage Action Zone initiative in England is funded with £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund and £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund. £3 million will be provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme.
The HSHAZ scheme includes £7.4 million to fund four years of cultural activities across the country to engage communities with their local high streets, and celebrate the role and importance of these historic areas as hubs of the community. The Cultural Programme is led by Historic England, in partnership with The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England.
The money will fund two arms of the programme, the first is grants distributed through cultural consortia set up by Local Authority partners. These consortia will work with artists and creative organisations local to the high streets to develop and deliver activity.
The second part of the programme is a series of national cultural commissions. Historic England is asking creatives to respond to briefs that include capturing the everyday spirit of high streets, and connecting high streets across the country; this will include a large-scale outdoor arts celebration of the high street and a four-year photography commission to document the changing face of the high street. Further commissions will be announced in each year of the cultural programme.