The Skelton Townscape Initiative – developed by Skelton Villages Civic Pride in partnership with Redcar & Cleveland Council – has received more than £1m in funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The scheme, which is a priority project within the East Cleveland Towns and Villages Investment programme, is part of phase two of R&C’s regeneration masterplan.
Working in conjunction with the council and the Tees Valley Rural Community Council, Skelton Villages Civic Pride was successful in the Townscape Heritage first round-pass bid which will see £1,021,440 come from the HLF and make up a significant chunk of the almost £1.5m that will be spent on the project.
The initiative will see the group take the lead on preserving and restoring Skelton’s heritage coupled with a number of public realm improvements which aims to see increased visitor numbers to the village and its businesses.
Remaining funding for the initiative, approximately 30% of the £1.5m required, has already been sourced from a number of local businesses as well as the council’s East Cleveland Investment Initiative.
The project has also been supported by a number of volunteers who have volunteered to assist in various elements of the project including archaeological exploration of the village as well as the development of a Mosaic Trail.
Now that funding has been secured, detailed proposals will be developed from now until September.
The delivery of the scheme is expected to take place between January 2016 and December 2018.
SVCP have formed a Partnership Board which will oversee and manage the scheme. This Board is made up of representatives from Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, Tees Valley Rural Community Council, All Saints Church Parish Church, Skelton Castle Estates, Parish Council, Residents, Businesses and the Civic Pride group.
Cllr Mark Hannon, R&C’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “We are very pleased that the Skelton Townscape Initiative has been successful in securing Townscape Heritage Initiative funding as this is just reward for all the hard work put in to the project so far by all parties.
“Now, we can look ahead to the project getting underway and ensuring Skelton gets restored to its former glory and gives local businesses a boost.”
Joyce White, from Skelton Villages Civic Pride, said: “We are so pleased that HLF are supporting us in our efforts to increase awareness of the rich wealth of history and heritage in Skelton, and to restore and preserve the family businesses on our High Street.”
Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Ben Greener, HLF’s Regeneration Adviser added: “Regeneration involves transforming places. Heritage is often central to this process, whether in the form of restoring a much-loved landmark or refurbishing boarded-up buildings.
“We believe that historic townscapes such as Skelton Villages are the beating heart of local places. Past Heritage Lottery Fund research shows that even small changes, such as improving shop fronts or restoring a building’s historic features, can make a real difference.”