NEW life will be breathed into an Eden town after it was chosen as one of the country’s first Heritage Action Zones (HAZ) - the only one in the North West.
The scheme is set to restore and revive Appleby as a tourist attraction by promoting its uncelebrated heritage and in turn boost the local economy.
Historic England is the driving force behind the nationwide initiative and the town joins Coventry, Elsecar, Hull, King's Lynn, Nottingham, Ramsgate, Sunderland, Sutton and Weston-Super-Mare as a HAZ.
The five year project is based on a partnership between Historic England, Eden District Council and Appleby Town Council. The overall investment is estimated to be £1.65 million, with Historic England contributing around £760,000 and the district council giving £180,000.
The project was launched at the town's Moot Hall on Monday where a delivery plan was signed by representatives from all three authorities.
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Cllr John Pape, Mayor of Appleby, said: "We are over the moon that Appleby has been chosen. The heritage of the town is key to attracting tourism and is therefore a vital factor in supporting the local economy.
"We are also pleased that the Moot Hall, which is owned by the council, will be one of the projects that is included. A recent condition survey has revealed substantial works are required to repair the building which has been damaged by damp."
Since the December 2015 floods, Appleby has been designated a Conservation Area at Risk and a number of buildings feature on the Heritage at Risk Register.
Tourism is one of the towns' major industries but Appleby has suffered from a decline in visitor numbers in recent years.
Cllr Mike Slee, Eden District Council’s Economic Development Portfolio Holder, said: "This is a fantastic day for Appleby. It's a wonderful place to visit and one of our key goals is to encourage more visitors.
"This is a new project. If we can make a success of it, it might encourage further HAZ areas in Cumbria."
Some of the aims of the Appleby HAZ are:
* Repairing and restoring a number of listed or scheduled buildings 'at risk' in the conservation area
* Giving consideration and making a contribution towards creating a flood resilience plan
* Assisting the community to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for Appleby
* Increasing visitor numbers to the town
* Creating new jobs by reducing the number of vacant shops
EDC, with the support of Heritage England, plans to recruit a programme officer and a conservation officer to join its planning services team as part of the HAZ scheme.
For more information about the Appleby HAZ visit www.investineden.co.uk or call: 01768 817817 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org