Phoenix Hall, Masonic Lodge, Queen Street East, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear. Temple or Lodge Room, east wall to left showing the Worshipful master's chair- with south wall to right. View from north west. Copyright Historic England Archive

Historic England celebrates success of its first 10 Heritage Action Zones

Image: Phoenix Hall, Masonic Lodge, Sunderland. © Historic England Archive

The £6 million scheme has seen ten ‘Heritage Action Zones’ in areas across the country total 77 regenerated historic buildings and 13 buildings removed from the Heritage at Risk Register.

Historic England has completed ten ‘Heritage Action Zones’ in areas across the country, totalling 77 regenerated historic buildings and 13 buildings removed from the Heritage at Risk Register.

Since 2016/17, Historic England has backed the scheme with £6 million of funding, with the aim to boost local appeal to residents, businesses, visitors and investors, and has leveraged a further £60 million in investment.

The 10 completed Heritage Action Zones are in Appleby, Coventry, Elsecar, Hull, King’s Lynn, Nottingham, Ramsgate, Sunderland, Sutton, and Weston Super Mare.

More than 500 community engagement volunteers have been trained, and more than 100 community projects have benefitted, Historic England reports, with deteriorating buildings restored and put back into use.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said: “Heritage Action Zones bring value to places, revive communities and help to engage people in learning more about their local heritage.

“Heritage is a powerful tool for delivering economic and social benefits and has an important role to play in levelling up. We look forward to continuing to create opportunities for local communities through our remaining Heritage Action Zone programmes.”

In the Sunderland Heritage Action Zone, two sets of Grade II listed buildings in High Street West – numbers 170 -175 and the Hutchinson’s Buildings have been repaired, while repair work is taking place on the Grade I listed Phoenix Hal.

A Heritage Schools programme has also been delivered to pupils at Grangetown Primary School, Valley Road Primary School and Hudson Road Primary School.

This project has been followed up with research being undertaken as to whether heritage can improve people’s wellbeing, which has not only re-engaged the Hudson Road Primary School pupils, who are now in year 5, but is also working with residents of the three tower blocks around Phoenix Hall to capture the impact of the Heritage Action Zone.

A further 10 Heritage Actions Zones are in process, alongside the £95 million Government-funded High Streets Heritage Action Zones, where Historic England is working with local authorities to regenerate more 60 High Streets through the restoration of historic buildings, a cultural programme and community engagement.