Sunderland set for £2million conservation windfall

Sunderland Minster sits in the Bishopwearmouth conservation area.
Sunderland Minster sits in the Bishopwearmouth conservation area.
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Sunderland is to receive almost £2million from a national fund that aims to revitalise conservation areas across the UK.

More than £17million is to be spent on 10 areas nationwide, marking 50 years since the protection for historic towns was introduced.

And among the projects in line to receive money from the Heritage Lottery Fund is the Bishopwearmouth conservation area in the western part of the city centre, which includes some of Sunderland’s finest Victorian and Edwardian buildings.

Bishopwearmouth conservation area has been awarded a £70,100 development grant to help progress plans to secure full funding of £1,998,900 from the Townscape Heritage programme.

It is 50 years since the concept of conservation areas was first introduced in England, Wales and Scotland, amid widespread concern over the pace of redevelopment in historic towns and cities.

The Heritage Lottery Fund says it has invested more than £288million of National Lottery money in more than 439 projects conserving and renewing historic town areas, from Denbigh in North Wales to Whitechapel, London.

Ros Kerslake, chief executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “We’ve been investing money raised through the National Lottery in the UK’s conservation areas for more than 20 years and we’ve seen first-hand the incredible difference it has made to local communities.”

She said that where local communities build plans around heritage, “it can have a powerful effect not only on local pride but also on local economic prosperity”.

Other projects include £1.2million for a scheme to restore the Grade II listed Market Arcade in Newport, Wales, the town’s oldest surviving shopping arcade.

Just under £2 million will go to halt deterioration and repair historic buildings in Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland, with up to 75 properties, shopfronts and public spaces getting improvements.

Stockport’s Underbanks area will get £1.8 million to help transform the historic high street and Lurgan, Co Armagh, Northern Ireland, will get close to £2million to restore buildings and breathe new life into the town’s conservation area.