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Northallerton is to benefit from a £386,480 grant as part of a multi-million pound government initiative to boost high streets.

It is one of nine towns in Yorkshire to receive cash from Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone scheme.

Awarded to Hambleton District Council the money will be used to investigate new uses for vacant buildings and give support to new businesses – breathing new life and physical improvements into the town to regenerate and restore local historic character.

“This grant gives us a fantastic opportunity to celebrate and invest in Northallerton High Street, restoring landmark buildings, conserving historic thoroughfares, updating shopfronts and breathing life into the upper floors of our buildings,” said Hambleton District Council  Leader, Councillor Mark Robson.

“We have many handsome Georgian buildings, but the once vibrant appearance of the town is beginning to deteriorate. Vacant shops are becoming an increasingly familiar sight and the thoroughfares and historic passageways leading off the High Street are looking rundown.

“Despite its rich heritage, most visitors are unaware of the town’s historic importance and opportunities to capitalise on this are being lost.”

He said the £770,000 scheme will provide landlords with the opportunity to restore their historic shop fronts, and a number of the historic passageways will be refurbished. There will also be a feasibility study undertaken to look at how underused upper floors of buildings could be converted into affordable homes for young people.

Training opportunities will be provided in traditional building skills which will be needed to carry out repairs to historic structures. And the hidden history of Northallerton will be brought to life through the introduction of an augmented reality app for locals and visitors.

And he said the Historic England grant will be match funded with cash from the district council, Northallerton BID and the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

“There is much to attract visitors to Northallerton, but we all recognise we need to continue to invest in our heritage and look at new ways to use and adapt the town centre to ensure it remains vibrant and thriving,” he added.   “The scheme will also complement projects proposed in our Future High Streets Funding bid which together gives Northallerton a very exciting future.”

Charles Smith, Acting Regional Director for Historic England in the North East and Yorkshire said: “Our high streets bring people together. They are places to socialise, shop, run businesses and be part of our local community. When high streets suffer, as they have done in particular done over the last six months, the special character of our historic places and communities suffers too. With the funding from the Government, combined with the expertise and passion of local people, Hambleton District Council and Historic England, the future of Northallerton’s historic high street is, thankfully, looking brighter.”

The funding – confirmed by the government for High Street Heritage Action Zones across the country – combines £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund with £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund. Another £3 million will be provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme to engage people in the life and history of their high streets.

Image:Dawn McNamara Photography

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