[M]ore than £120,000 of investment is being ploughed into historic shop fronts in Whitehaven’s Market Place.
The latest grants from the Townscape Heritage Initiative are for work at 35, 36 and 38 James Street (Cafe 35, AG Fashion and James Street Barber Shop) and The Chicken Shop at 42 Market Place.
Owners of the James Street properties, R&I Robson Ltd and W H Robson Ltd, will receive £76,675 for new sliding sash windows, shop fronts, roof repairs, re-rendering and external decoration. Work has already begun here and should be complete by the summer.
Debra Law, of W H Robson Ltd, said: “As a family-run business we have owned these properties since 1972 and all our tenants have been local residents or local independent businesses, some of which have been with us over 30 years. It’s important to us to offer affordable rents to local people. This grant will allow us to continue to do this and will improve the building for the occupiers and visitors to the area.”
A grant of £46,585 has also been awarded to Joanne Madrick for work on The Chicken Shop. This will include a new traditional shop front, sliding sash windows to the front and back, re-rendering, roof repairs and a new awning. Work will start in the next month and finish by the summer.
Copeland’s Heritage Champion, Coun Michael McVeigh, said: “This is yet another enhancement to what is already an architecturally attractive area of Whitehaven. These are among the final grants of the Townscape Heritage Initiative, which has been the catalyst for major improvements to this area of the town. I look forward to seeing the results.”
Mayor Mike Starkie added: “The THI scheme has been an incredible boost to James St and Market Place, and has highlighted how important it is for economic growth to dovetail with the protection of historical assets. These next two pieces of work will add to the fantastic improvements we’ve already seen, and be part of a real transformation.”
The Townscape Heritage Initiative is a five-year project for Whitehaven Market Place and James Street. It was begun in October 2013 with £659,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £394,000 from Britain’s Energy Coast, £250,000 from Copeland Borough Council and £50,000 from Cumbria County Council. Grants are made to repair buildings and bring vacant historic floor space back into use, and to provide heritage skills training for builders, and community activities.