Alston Moor Partnership recently found out that it has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a Townscape Heritage project for AlstonTown Centre. The project aims to improve town centre properties to provide a more attractive environment for people to both live in and visit. Empty shops will be refurbished and other properties improved to give a much needed boost to business confidence, and as new shops open.

alston front street newsThe HLF investment, together with the Partnership's marketing activities, will bring more visitors into the town, as well as encouraging local residents to make more use of our local shops. Development funding of £69,700 was also awarded to help Alston Moor Partnership progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

The project aims to provide grant funding which town centre property owners will be able to apply for, to enable them to carry out essential repairs and improvements such as reinstating traditional windows and shop-fronts. There will also be funding to improve the 'streetscape' of the town centre, for instance providing flagged crossings over the cobbles and setts to make it easier for pedestrians to get around.

During the development stage there will be guided heritage walks and open archive days, culminating in an exhibition of old photographs, as well as guidance in introducing energy efficient measures into old buildings.

If the Stage 2 bid is successful there will be a full programme of heritage activities, including a project to research where Alston's shops were located and what they used to look like, (there were milliners, hatters, and a toffee shop to name but a few). There will be sketching and drawing workshops, projects involving local school-children, and hands on heritage skills training events both for local property owners and for local building contractors, for instance learning how to point a wall with lime mortar and how to lay cobbles.

Sonia Kempsey, Chair of Alston Moor Partnership said 'This Heritage Lottery award follows in the footsteps of a Stage 1 success for Nenthead Chapel and the fantastic news of the South Tynedale Railway's Stage 2 HLF award, enabling the railway line to be extended to Slaggyford. Together these HLF awards will make a real difference to Alston Moor,bringing in more visitors and helping to sustain Alston's historic town centre for years to come.'

If anyone would like to find out more about Alston Moor Partnership and the Townscape Heritage project, come along to the Partnership's AGM which will take place on Wednesday, 7th May. Check the Events Calendar closer to the date for more details on venue.