Heritage action plan to spearhead tourism revival

Date: Monday 27th March 2017
At the HAZ launch are (left to right) Matthew Neal, Eden District Council deputy chief executive, Priya Walters, mayor John Pape, district councillor Mike Slee, mayoress Jennifer Pape, and Catherine Dewar, of Historic England.
At the HAZ launch are (left to right) Matthew Neal, Eden District Council deputy chief executive, Priya Walters, mayor John Pape, district councillor Mike Slee, mayoress Jennifer Pape, and Catherine Dewar, of Historic England.

APPLEBY will have £1.6 million spent on reviving the town’s tourism economy after it was announced as one of only 10 towns in the country to benefit from a new scheme.

A special launch was held at the town’s moot hall on Monday where representatives from Historic England — which is the driving force behind the project — Eden District Council and Appleby Town Council met to sign a delivery plan for the Appleby heritage zone action plan. Appleby is the only town in the North West to be included in the nationwide initiative which will breathe new life into areas that are rich in uncelebrated heritage.

The overall investment over five years is estimated to be £1,650,000, with Historic England contributing around £760,000.

As part of the special launch, Appleby Grammar School pupil Priya Walters dressed as the famous historical figure Lady Anne Clifford. Priya, aged 15, from Maulds Meaburn, donned a costume which has been made by members of Appleby Textile Group led by textile expert Phillipa Turnbull, of Appleby.

The costume has been created over the past three years and based on a portrait belonging to a direct descendant of Lady Anne. All materials used are as near to authentic as possible and the group have also used authentic techniques.

Speaking at the Heritage Action Zone launch, mayor John Pape said: “I think this is going to be one of the best things to happen to Appleby and it will greatly improve many of the assets of the town.”

Several buildings have already been earmarked for funding including work to repair the historic moot hall itself and also Appleby Castle tower.

Caroline Dewer, planning director North West for Historic England, said as part of the project local schools will be invited to get involved, they will be looking to a develop a trail and will also be helping to fund further flood resilience work. The project will also see a vast amount of research done into buildings in Appleby which will then be collated into a book and put on sale in the town’s tourist information centre.

Money will also be spent on improving shop fronts in the town and it is hoped that bringing vacant shops back into use will create new jobs.

“Appleby is a fascinating historic market town and we’re thrilled to be working in partnership with others who live and work in the town. Tourism is a key part of the local economy which has been under more pressure recently, particularly following the flooding of last winter. We’re keen to work with the local community in understanding and interpreting the town’s history. Enhancing Appleby’s heritage will also lead on an improved ‘visitor offer’ providing a boost to tourism which, in turn, will help to grow the town’s economy,” said Ms Dewer.

Mike Slee, economic development portfolio holder for Eden Council, added: “I would like to congratulate everyone who has worked so hard to bring this project together. It has the potential to deliver major economic and community benefits to Appleby. The district council is contributing in the region of £180,000 towards realising the objectives of the HAZ.

“The district council, with the support of Historic England, is going to recruit a program officer for the Appleby HAZ; this person will be responsible for the project’s day to day delivery. Eden Council will also be appointing a conservation officer to join our planning services team. This appointment will help guide the restoration of Appleby’s conservation area and the management of the 23 other designated conservation areas within Eden district.”

Other towns in the Heritage Action Zones scheme are Coventry, Elsecar, Hull, King’s Lynn, Nottingham, Ramsgate, Sunderland, Sutton and Weston-Super-Mare.