Nearly 10 years ago Tavistock Town Council, with a group of key partners, committed to regenerating and protecting the town’s historic commercial centre, enhancing community space and growing retail resilience. That meant securing a National Lottery Heritage Fund Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) award – a locally administered regeneration grant scheme to revitalise vacant commercial space, protect jobs and repair/restore historic buildings and public spaces whilst growing heritage skills and awareness.
That is how the Town Council became the first (and still only) town or parish council in the country to administer a THI scheme, in contrast with others led by district or county councils. Now, as the works to the final project (Guildhall Square) approach completion next month the evaluation report for the scheme has been published. It talks about what has worked well, what has not, the benefits that have been secured for the Town and the lessons that can be drawn from the 5 year delivery programme. The Scheme secured direct investment of approximately £2.2 million together with additional investment by participating landlords estimated at over £600,000. The report concludes:
“the town’s heritage, people and community have benefitted widely. Tavistock’s reputation as a quality market town has been strengthened, along with the opportunity to promote the town based on its sense of place and quality historic assets. Wider regeneration activity is currently underway and there is a more coherent approach from TTC with community-based organisations and relevant authorities to the conservation and maintenance of the high-quality built environment within the town”.
Councillor Mrs Anne Johnson, Mayor of Tavistock said
‘I would like to pay tribute to the contribution made by all the partners and stakeholders involved in this project over many years. The improvements secured show how, with the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, a community based partnership working through the local council can deliver lasting benefits to the economy and town - something especially precious in these uncertain times’.
Stuart McLeod, Director London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“This project clearly demonstrates how by investing in heritage, the National Lottery can have a direct impact on the economic health of our local communities. Investing in Tavistock’s historic core through the Townscape Heritage Initiative Award has helped regenerate the local economy for the benefit of people, local businesses and the wider community, as well as encouraging heritage skills.”
The Tavistock Townscape Heritage Initiative Evaluation Report can be read in full at https://www.tavistock.gov.uk/your-council/council-initiatives/townscape-heritage-initiative
About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.