The Somerset Guardian, 26th May 2021

Last week, Historic England wrote to me regarding the local grants for High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) cultural programming.  The £95 million taxpayer-funded programme, which is being delivered by Historic England, will unlock the potential of high streets across the country, thus fuelling economic, social and cultural recovery.

The Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund will provide £40 million of taxpayers’ money alongside £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund. An additional £3 million will be supplemented by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

More than sixty high streets have been offered subsidies and for the most part, local authorities in each area will be working with Historic England to deliver projects that will transform and restore disused and dilapidated buildings into new homes, shops, work places and community spaces.

I am pleased to report that £80,000 has been given to Keynsham to support activities including: mini festivals; markets; cultural community days and the installation of an illustrative timeline of Keynsham’s history. In the first year, the project will reveal how Keynsham was in the past and the second year will celebrate Keynsham as it is now. The final year will look towards the town’s future.

Midsomer Norton has been awarded £85,000, which will finance the ‘Merriment in Midsomer Norton’ cultural programme that will re-launch historic street markets, enhance existing festivals like Wassailing and deliver interactive heritage and cultural events including history trails, pop-up exhibitions and skills workshops.

I am delighted that two outstanding high streets in North East Somerset will have new life breathed into them and am sure that local residents and future generations will benefit greatly from this investment.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance: