Wisbech wins Lottery jackpot for restoration project

Wisbech general of Wisbech ENGANL00120120602104922
Wisbech general of Wisbech ENGANL00120120602104922

Wisbech has been given a £1.9 million Lottery grant for a restoration project on the town’s High Street.

Fenland District Council has been awarded the cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Wisbech High Street Project.

Thanks to National Lottery players, the project will restore a number of buildings on the High Street, bring new uses back into empty properties and transform the derelict former Cook’s Butchers site at number 24 into an exciting new area for public use. The award from the HLF is a big boost for the town. It comes as the reward for two years’ hard work by the team and community champions that put together the two stages of the bid.

Fenland District Council has worked closely with the Wisbech Society, Wisbech Town Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and more than 20 local stakeholders, with the whole process being overseen by consultants Ingham Pinnock Associates. Strong support has also come from Historic England.

The funding comes from the HLF’s Townscape Heritage programme.

Councillor David Oliver, FDC’s Cabinet member responsible for conservation and Leader of Wisbech Town Council, said: “We’re absolutely delighted our bid has been successful. Our plans have obviously been on hold while we awaited the HLF’s decision; now we can press ahead with everything we have been working on over the past two years. This is a project that will make a big difference to the town, both for local people and visitors.”

Robyn Llewellyn, head of HLF East of England, said: “HLF investment goes well beyond the bricks and mortar of a building. THI schemes can help boost local economies, not only by improving how they look and feel, but by prompting business and boosting the sense of pride in an area. We’re pleased to support Fenland District Council in celebrating and restoring Wisbech’s historic high street.”

David Crouch, of the Wisbech Society added: “The Society is delighted that all the work over several years by the society and Wisbech community groups has come to fruition. The securing of Heritage Lottery Fund support is most important for the heritage and future of Wisbech.”

Over the next few months the project team will be recruiting a dedicated Townscape Heritage Project Officer to manage the project on a day-to- day basis, reviewing its original Activity Plan and working with all the local community groups to engage people in a wide range of conservation education, training and leisure activities and developing the previous outline designs for the former Cook’s Butchers site, working with a leading architect to formulate a detailed scheme that can then seek the requisite planning permission.