National Lottery Support for Bradford Top of Town

Article dated Friday Dec 22, 2017 at 03:12 PM

Back in January this year Bradford Council successfully secured initial support* for a £2 million National Lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support a Townscape Heritage Scheme for the ‘top of town’ area of the city centre.

The plan is for the scheme to be based in the Bradford City Centre Conservation Area concentrated along North Parade, Rawson Place, Darley Street, Northgate, Piccadilly, Upper Piccadilly, Duke Street and James Street.

It is a distinct part of the city centre, characterised by small shops and independent businesses and is an area made up of mostly 19th century buildings of high architectural quality.

Bradford Council received a development grant of £61,000 as part of the Stage 1 bid and has now appointed a Townscape Heritage Scheme Project Officer to develop a more detailed proposal to secure the full award through a Stage 2 round submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The vision for this area is to continue to add to the existing businesses and continue to grow this thriving and well-connected quarter with a vibrant day and night time economy and high quality independent shops, bars and restaurants. The reuse of the upper floors for offices and residential accommodation will breathe new life into these historic buildings.

If the second round application is successful, grants will be available for property owners or longstanding tenants, to repair the exterior of their period property, restore lost or damaged architectural features, or to develop vacant space for sustainable new uses.

The council has already made contact with a number of property owners in the area to talk about their ambitions for the ‘top of town’, what the grants could achieve, and how the council could support their projects.

The Council has committed to public realm improvements in the area, as part of Townscape Heritage, including the restoration of the statue of factory reformer Richard Oastler, located on Northgate.

Coun Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “The area around the Oastler statue on Northgate has become a great venue which has already been used for events like the North Parade Arts & Music Festival and Made Bradford markets. We want to use the Townscape Heritage Lottery Funding to improve the quality of this public open space, and support the growth of these street events, and the local businesses.”

Richard Middleton, Townscape Heritage Scheme Project Officer at Bradford Council, said: “Understanding the historic significance of buildings is the starting point for effective conservation. We have been getting out on the streets, learning about the buildings, so that we make well informed decisions about how to make the best use of the grant funding."

Saira Ali, team leader of Landscape Design and Conservation at Bradford Council, who worked to secure the funding, said: “A number of complementary activities would run alongside the grant aided projects, to help raise awareness of Bradford’s wonderful architecture, widen people’s knowledge of the ‘top of town’ area, develop a better understanding of historic buildings, and the skills needed to maintain and protect them.

“We believe one of the strengths of our submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund may be the activities we plan to deliver. Everything from guided heritage walks, to offering students looking to a career in construction, the opportunity to get some hands on experience.”

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