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£100k cultural programme to revive Buxton high street

Published 25 May 2021

Reviving high streets was a key ambition even before Covid and has taken on even greater significance as we move to recovery - so the announcement of a £100,000 grant for a 3 year cultural programme to celebrate the heritage of Buxton's Spring Gardens couldn't come at a better time.

Buxton is one of a number of towns selected to share in a £95m Historic England grant scheme to revive the special characteristics of historic high streets following a successful bid by High Peak Borough Council.

High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) project runs until 31 March 2024 and will focus on Spring Gardens. This includes physical works, such as the restoration of traditional shop fronts and characteristic architectural details, alongside a programme of community engagement and cultural activities.

And a further £100,000 has now been announced for a 3 year programme which will celebrate the high street past and present - and put young people at its heart.

Councillor Damien Greenhalgh, Deputy Leader and Executive Councillor for Regeneration, Tourism and Leisure, said: "This is an exciting time for Buxton with the town centre set to undergo the biggest transformation for decades following confirmation of our successful multi-million pound bid for Future High Streets funding.

"It was always our ambition to deliver bustling, vibrant town centres even before the Covid pandemic but now more than ever our town centres need to meet the needs of our residents and be fit for the future. That future must, at the same time, respect our history and heritage and keep it alive and relevant.

"That's why the HSHAZ scheme works so well with our future high street plans - the two complement each other perfectly. The announcement of further funding for a cultural programme will help bring Buxton's story to vivid life and it's great that young people will be so involved in helping to shape events that people of all ages can relate to.

"It's more good news for the town and it couldn't come at a better time as we move through the Covid pandemic and help our communities and businesses recover and thrive."

A consortium of 12 organisations, led by Buxton International Festival, will deliver the three-year cultural programme. Local youth theatres, choirs and students from the town's secondary schools will sit on a panel to advise on activity with a quarter of the funding reserved for young people's programming.

Eilis Scott, acting Regional Director Historic England Midlands, said: "The high street cultural programme is a step change in the way we think about high streets. We're delighted that Buxton is celebrating its important historic spaces. It is the community-led cultural work that helps people to enjoy their high street again and also have a say in what the future of their high street might be."

Plans for the first year include an exhibition of portraits of the high street past and present using empty shop windows, street flags and digital displays.

Under the HSHAZ programme commercial properties can apply for grants of up to 75% of the costs of conservation-led repairs and restoration.