18/03/2024: Breckland Council celebrates a further £1M investment for heritage and community projects in Swaffham

Breckland Council logo

The High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) Partnership including Breckland Council, Historic England, Swaffham Town Council and the Swaffham Cultural Consortium have come together to celebrate the scheme's achievements over the 4 year programme. Breckland Council has proudly announced that the project will continue for a further 3 years with funding secured from Historic England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund to create an expected £1M budget to deliver heritage and community projects in the town.

Since its inception, the HSHAZ project has epitomized the power of collaboration and partnership, drawing on the expertise and guidance of numerous stakeholders from local to national. The partnership has seen joint investment in heritage and culture and its role in bringing wider economic benefits to Swaffham, whilst delivering against the district's future vision for the town. The scheme has seen the restoration of Swaffham's iconic Assembly Rooms along with the installation and the repair of three heritage shop fronts improving key heritage buildings on the high street. Alongside this public realm improvements have included new benches, soft landscaping and will see the installation of enhanced signage and wayfinding, all supporting the recommendations of the award-winning Heritage Masterplan.

Breckland Council, along with partners, look forward to building on this success, using heritage as a vehicle to regenerate and maximise the potential of Swaffham. Securing further investment from Historic England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund will propel the project into its next phase, further enhancing Swaffham's built heritage whilst bringing new stakeholders together.

Central to the new phase of the project is the continuation of the community grants scheme. The initiative aims to restore and revitalize 9-12 historic buildings within the Swaffham conservation area, breathing new life into the heart of the town. The grant scheme will empower more local businesses to reclaim key historical features, ensuring that Swaffham's high street remains a source of pride for generations to come.

Additionally, further public realm works will focus on creating a greener, safer, and more appealing space for residents and visitors alike. Through careful consultation and planning, the project aims to foster a sense of community ownership.

In tandem with physical restoration efforts, the project will also deliver vital community engagement and training initiatives. These programmes, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, will provide essential skills and education to building owners, landlords, and young people in the building trade. By nurturing a deeper connection to Swaffham's rich history and heritage, these initiatives will ensure that the project's impact extends far beyond the physical realm.

Commenting on the project's success, Breckland Executive Member for Economic Development and Growth, Councillor Paul Claussen stated: "As Chair of the project board, I am thrilled that we are celebrating the achievements of the Swaffham High Street Heritage Actions Zone and are embarking on this exciting new phase with the support of Historic England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund. This funding represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to preserve and celebrate Swaffham's unique heritage, delivering against our ambitions set out in Swaffham's Future Breckland Town Delivery Plan and we are immensely grateful for the continued support of our partners and the wider community."

Tony Calladine, East of England Regional Director, Historic England, said: "It's been wonderful to see the transformation of Swaffham's historic town centre, with the restoration of the Assembly Rooms, revitalised shopfronts and the attractive and inviting public areas. The High Street Heritage Action Zone has shown how heritage-led regeneration can make such a difference to a place in so many ways. The fantastic cultural programme has brought people together in the centre of Swaffham, creating a real sense of community and togetherness. I'm delighted that, working in partnership with Breckland Council and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, we'll see Swaffham's regeneration continue."

Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: "Our historic high streets are an important part of who we are, creating a sense of place and belonging and bringing communities together. Heritage has a unique role in bringing people together where they live, work and visit, and this National Lottery funding will increase people's connection with the heritage and bring life back to these local special places.  We are delighted to work in partnership with Historic England and Breckland Council to further our vision for heritage to be valued, cared for, and sustained for everyone, now and in the future."

Last updated: 28/03/2024 15:26:50