The Somerset Guardian, 18th September 2019

In May 2019, Historic England launched a £95 million Government-funded project known as the High Streets Heritage Action Zones (HSHAZ).

The aim is to find new ways of supporting and regenerating historic high streets in Britain with the help and expertise of other partners. Through the programme local councils, community groups and businesses will be offered advice and investment to revive historic buildings and underused or disused buildings will become ‘creative spaces, offices, shops and housing’.

The Government announced that £40 million will be provided by the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund will fund £52 million. An extra £3 million will be given by the National Lottery Heritage Fund that supports ‘a cultural programme to engage people in the life and history of their high streets’.

Applicants were able to apply for grants ranging between £250,000 and £2 million, establishing a four-year partnership starting in April 2020. Last weekend, it was announced that sixty-nine towns have been accepted on to the project design phase, including Midsomer Norton and Keynsham. This is a much-needed and well-deserved boon for these towns, which are the heart of local communities and whose historical features will be undoubtedly augmented by the grants. Those responsible for submitting the bids and securing the money should be congratulated for all their hard work and I look forward to seeing the outcome of the works in 2024.

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Promoted by North East Somerset Conservatives on behalf of Jacob Rees-Mogg, both of Rear of 16 High Street, Keynsham, BS31 1DQ.