Breathing new life into Middlesbrough’s Historic Quarter

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A major funding boost is set to breathe new life into Middlesbrough’s Historic Quarter.

Grants will be up for grabs to help with repairs and restoration works to businesses and other premises.

The quarter was designated a Conservation Area in 1989 and centres around the Grade II-listed railway station, extending north towards Middlehaven and south towards the town centre.

The area is now set to benefit from a key funding injection through Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone fund.

Middlesbrough Council’s successful bid was chosen from more than 200 expressions of interest from across England.

High Street Heritage Action Zone status will see the Historic Quarter become the focus of a programme of improvements designed to reinvigorate the area and drive investment.

The programme is funded by Historic England (£985,880), Middlesbrough Council (£1m) and will leverage third party funding.

Kicking off immediately and running until 2024, it will offer property improvement grants to eligible privately-owned premises, to assist with building repairs and restoration.

It will also provide enhancements to Exchange Square and Zetland Road, such as upgrades to hard surfacing, new street furniture, improved street lighting and the introduction of new trees.

A range of community and cultural activities will reanimate the area and increase footfall.
Once the commercial centre of Middlesbrough’s trade boom in the second half of the 19th century, the Historic Quarter has suffered in recent years through lack of investment and high levels of empty properties.

The programme of improvements has been designed to stimulate investment and make the area a more engaging and vibrant place to be.

Heritage Unlocked founder Dr Tosh Warwick, who chairs the HAZ Community Steering Group, said: “The Historic England Heritage Action Zone will bring new life to an important part of Middlesbrough’s heritage.

“By reinvigorating the Historic Quarter all parts of the community can discover, engage with and enjoy our town’s heritage, learn more about our past and benefit from regeneration at the heart of our town.”

Councillor Mieka Smiles, Middlesbrough Council’s executive member for culture and communities, said: “The Historic Quarter is the main thoroughfare between the town centre and the train station, and is often the first thing people see when visiting our town.

“The area has huge potential, but it needs significant investment to revitalise the listed Victorian buildings and make them fit for modern purposes.

“The funding through Historic England allows us to assist building owners to deliver much-needed improvements, as well as enhancing surrounding public areas to create a place where people will want to visit and work in.”

• For more information, visit: middlesbrough.gov.uk/business/middlesbrough-high-street-heritage-action-zone.