Further funding has been approved by Sefton Council to allow a second round application for Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF) for a major project in Southport town centre.
Development funding of £70K was awarded by the HLF last year to enable Sefton Council, in partnership with Southport BID, to progress their plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant of £1.6m. With contributions from Sefton Council and property owners it could be worth up to £2.36m in total.
At Cabinet on February 7, £200K of match funding was approved to enable Sefton Council and Southport BID to submit a second round application in June, 2019.
The Southport Townscape Heritage Project aims to enhance the quality and strength of the linkages between the town centre and the seafront so that the two become more integrated.
The project aims to increase the levels of economic activity within a target area and reduce the number of vacant and underused properties.
It will focus on historic properties between Lord Street and the Promenade and aims to complement the previous HLF restoration of King’s Gardens and the recent £2m award from the Coastal Communities funds for the pier.
Cllr Daren Veidman, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Building Control, said: “We initially beat off fierce competition from 23 other bids to be one of only 5 areas within the UK to be awarded the grant.
“This match funding will allow us to apply for a full National Lottery grant worth about £1.6m which we will submit in June with a final decision made in the autumn.
“If approved we really believe the money will enhance the links between Lord Street and the Promenade reducing the vacant and poorly maintained properties and greatly increasing economic activity in these areas.”
The project aims to carry out essential conservation work, involving structural and external repair of historic buildings, the reinstatement of authentic architectural features and works to bring vacant floor space in historic buildings back into use.
Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, added: “Working with partners like Southport Civic Society and other education and training providers, we hope the project will bring community, volunteering and educational benefits to local residents.
“Lord Street and the Promenade conservation areas provide a rich and nationally significant collection of historic buildings and landscaping. We firmly believe preserving this heritage for residents, businesses and visitors alike will contribute greatly to the town’s economy while providing a strong sense of identity, local pride and community value.”
Part of the initial development funding has allowed for the recruitment of a dedicated Project Officer, Paul Crowther, who joined Sefton in November 2018 from the successful Townscape Heritage Project in Winckley Square, Preston. Paul has been busy working on developing the second round application and liaising with Southport BID.
Rob Uffendell, Chair of Southport Business Improvement District, said: “This is a great step forward for our town. The success of our joint application for first round funding demonstrated the effectiveness of the private and public sectors working together for the greater good of our town. We’re confident that continuing this collaboration will now help ensure a successful second round application resulting in £1.6m grant funding to improve a core area of our town centre and is an example of how such collaborations are important in encouraging future investment in Southport.”