Alston Moor Partnership

- living and working together in the highest community in England

Townscape Heritage Project Information

Alston Town
Imagine what you would like Alston Town Centre to be like
Alston Town
Our Town
Nation Lottery Funded

What is the Townscape Heritage Lottery Fund?

Townspace Guidance
The Townscape Heritage Lottery fund is available for schemes across the UK to apply for grants which help communities improve the built historic environment of conservation areas in need of investment, with the aim of regenerating economically disadvantaged historic areas for the benefit of local residents, workers and visitors. Grants of between £100,000 and £2 million can be applied for, the Alston Moor Partnership applied for a grant of £1.3 million.

Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Sara Hilton, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West said,

“HLF investment goes well beyond the bricks and mortar of a building. Townscape Heritage schemes can really help turn around local economies, not only by improving how they look and feel, but by prompting business start-ups and creating new jobs and training opportunities.

We are delighted to be able to work with Alston Moor Partnership in helping restore Alston to its rightful place as the hub of the wider community”

The differences the Heritage Lottery want to make..........

Townscape Heritage schemes need to contribute towards all of the eight outcomes listed below.
Outcomes for heritage
With our investment, heritage will be:
• better managed
• in better condition

Outcomes for people
With our investment, people will have:
• developed skills
• learnt about heritage

Outcomes for communities
With our investment:
• environmental impacts will be reduced
• more people and a wider range of people will have engaged with heritage
• your local area/community will be a better place to live, work or visit
• your local economy will be boosted
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What was involved in the 1st Stage of the Bid?

Alston Moor – Celebrating Our Past Into Our Future – A Community Vision

All Townscape Heritage applications go through a two-round process.

This is so that we could apply at an early stage of planning our scheme and get an idea from the Heritage Lottery of whether we had a good chance of getting a grant before we developed our proposals in greater detail.
Alston in the snow 1930ish
Last year Alston Moor Partnership applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a 1st stage Townscape Heritage Initiative grant for Alston Conservation Area so that they could get the funding needed to work up more detailed proposals.
Why did we bid?

In 2011 Alston Moor Conservation Area was registered as Heritage At Risk. The assessment centred mainly on the ‘acceleration of shop closures’ and that ‘some key buildings in the town centre are vacant and without intervention the conservation area will continue to deteriorate despite the Article 4 direction’. Overall condition was described as ‘poor’ and the report suggested that it is ‘possibly suitable as a rural THI scheme’. The entry in the 2012 register described the trend as deteriorating.

The unique character of Alston derives from the steep gradient of the main street and the large areas of cobbles. It is therefore proposed to create a master-plan for the Market Place/Front Street area of the town.

The biggest need is to ensure that an improved environment helps improve the economic vitality of the town centre, so property owners are financially able to undertake high-quality maintenance.

Increasing shop closures and ensuing lack of maintenance of fabric is an ever-growing threat, while remoteness and almost non-existent public transport are an open invitation to on-line shopping.

Alston is the meeting-place of five trans-Pennine roads, thus experiencing an unusual level of traffic for its size.

Nearby quarries rely on these roads and the stone pavings and narrow streets (highlighted as important in EDC’s Supplementary Planning Guidance) are tested to destruction by maximum-weight trucks.

Alston’s prevailing weather punishes the fabric of the town, which requires more frequent maintenance than buildings at lower altitude. This, coupled with a lack of resources, results in ongoing deterioration.

Nevertheless, some property owners maintain their premises, despite ongoing dilapidation happening around them.

The aim of the Townscape Heritage Initiative is to address the threat that the worst sites pose to the investment the other owners might consider for refurbishment, and to restore community pride in the historic town centre that community and visitors value so much.

It could contribute to wider heritage-based regeneration, bringing much-needed skilled job opportunities, widening the economic base and making Alston a more desirable place to live.

It could enable improvements to the public realm: the pavements, cobbles and setts, and possibly street furniture. There will also be community heritage projects to find out more about the history of our old buildings, and heritage skills training events to learn about traditional construction techniques and craft skills.
old photos of men repairing the cobbles
It could also provide funding towards the cost of essential structural repairs to properties, and restoration of original external details, e.g. original window details, original corbels on old shop fronts within the scheme area. This would be in the form of a grant scheme which property owners could apply for.

It was not possible to include every property within the conservation area so we concentrated on 22 commercial properties (see map below) on Front Street and the Market Square, as these are generally seen to be those most in need of repair, and would have the most impact in bringing life back into the centre of the town.

This involved an initial visual assessment to ascertain those properties most in need of attention and will now be followed up with a detailed survey following agreement with property owners during this development stage for the second round funding application.

Click here for a Map of Alston's Conservation Area

Alston Conservation Area
Haldons Grocers Alston

What the Project aims to do:

The capital element is in two parts:

• The renovation of selected town centre properties, through administration of the Townscape Heritage Initiative grant scheme to property owners forms the main focus.

• Improvements to the distinctive public realm are crucially important to the special character of the town.

The non-capital element comprises a programme of activities designed to engage people with the townscape heritage. These activities will:
• Provide residents and visitors with a better understanding and appreciation of the townscape heritage

• Create a wider range of audiences, including young people

• Create new learning opportunities, formal and informal

• Provide a range of training opportunities, working with The North of England Civic Trust’s Heritage Skills Initiative (HSI) and local colleges.
Market Cross and Hostel
Heritage Lottery Funded
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Alston Town Hall
Alston Moor Partnership Ltd
Alston Town Hall,
Front Street,
Editing LInk
Back Office

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