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Historic Quarter grants up for grabs

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Grants are up for grabs as part of a major drive to transform a key part of Middlesbrough.

Building owners and leaseholders in the town's Historic Quarter are being invited to apply for the cash to help with repairs and restoration works of empty or under-utilised buildings.

The Quarter - focused on the Grade II-listed railway station and extending north towards Middlehaven and south towards the town centre - became a Conservation Area in 1989.

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 area is now set to benefit from a key funding injection through Historic England's High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme.

Middlesbrough Council's successful funding bid to Historic England will see almost £2 million invested into the Quarter, alongside additional third party funding.

Expressions of interest applications are still open for eligible building owners and leaseholders - for grants of up to £170,000 -  that sit within the HSHAZ boundary, if they meet the criteria. 

Applications will be assessed on a first come, first served basis, with two assessment periods per financial year until the pot of money is fully committed at the end of the programme in March 2024.

The first assessment period in year one is Monday, November 23 2020 therefore the Council urges eligible building owners and leaseholders to apply sooner rather than later.

Councillor Mieka Smiles, Middlesbrough Council's Executive member for Communities & Education, said: "The Historic Quarter is one of Middlesbrough's key focal points, and is the first thing many people see of the town as they arrive by train.

"It's hugely important in terms of culture and heritage, but we need to turn the tide on decades of neglect, and breathe new life into both its Victorian splendour and its 21st Century potential.

"These grants are an amazing opportunity to be at the vanguard of that transformation - but its first come, first served, so I'd urge anyone eligible to get their expression of interest in as soon as possible."

Maria Carballeira at Historic England, said: "Middlesbrough's Historic Quarter was once the heart of the town's thriving commercial district and is home to many elegant - but now underused - Victorian buildings. Through this grant scheme, we can help reinstate the local historic character and revitalise the area, transforming it into an attractive gateway into the town centre."     

This is one of a number of key projects that will transform Middlesbrough's town centre over the next few years, making it a highly desirable place to live and work through improved transport, urban living developments and the creation of new jobs.

Eligible business owners and leaseholders must read the HSHAZ Grant Policy, available online, before submitting their Expression of Interest at the earliest opportunity.

For further information and to make an application, visit the HSHAZ page. Or if you wish to discuss a potential project, email HAZ@middlesbrough.gov.uk

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