Thursday, March 10, 2016

News: Rotherham loses out in lottery bid

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Award-winning Rotherham town centre has been denied the chance to undertake further heritage-led regeneration after a bid for funding was rejected.

The impressive regeneration of listed buildings on the High Street has seen 13 key properties renovated thanks to a total of a £4.7m investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Rotherham Council and the property owners. Some of the most prominent are part of the complex of mixed-used retail outlets focusing on listed buildings like The Three Cranes building and former Georgian Town House at 29-29a High Street created by local businessman, Chris Hamby.

The Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) also kick-started work at 22 – 30 High Street - now home to the Makers Emporium, 20 High Street - now home to Patchwork Pig, Essoldo Chambers, and the former Mason's Jewellers. Improvements to Rotherham Minster and its grounds, including the impressive floodlighting, have also been carried out in addition to associated public realm improvements to High Street.

Now minutes from a recent meeting of the Heritage Lottery Fund show that a bid from Rotherham Council to build on the momentum in Rotherham town centre using funding from the Townscape Heritage programme has been rejected.

HLF's Townscape Heritage programme provides grants ranging from £100,000 to £2m to regenerate towns and cities by improving their built historic environment. Funding instead is set to go to Worksop, Hartlepool, Burnley, Armagh, Rothesay, St Austell, Merthyr Tydfil, Coventry and Cleethorpes.

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The former Three Cranes Inn (pictured), that occupied a timber framed building dating back to the 15th Century, is thought to be the oldest domestic building in the town and was probably built as a merchant's town house around 1600.

The grade 2* listed building is the only timber framed building to survive in Rotherham town centre. An earlier wing consists of a medieval open hall block that retains evidence for a high status "coved" area at one end, known as a dais, in addition to the remains of a vaulted undercroft beneath.

It was included on the first Heritage at Risk Register in 1999, and has been ever since. Until last year.

An application to the National Heritage Memorial Fund for another phase of heritage regeneration in Rotherham town centre was rejected last year.

Rotherham Council put forward a bid worth £1.9m for a project based on John Platt's house which is now part of Westgate Chambers.

The £1.9m bid included a development grant of £39,300 (90% of eligible development costs) for a second phase of works to properties in the town centre conservation area. The project would have informed people about the history and heritage of the architect's house, and explored opportunities for artists to display work depicting the architectural and historical heritage of the buildings.

Images: RMBC

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