Townscape Heritage Initiative

What is a Townscape Heritage Initiative?

The Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) is the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) grant giving programme for the repair and regeneration of the historic environment in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Launched in 1998, the initiative was born from the Fund’s desire to deliver sustainable conservation in historic urban areas. It offers grants for comprehensive and targeted programmes of repair, reuse and enhancement of historic urban areas.

Bringing life back to historic city centres

THI’s aim is to make possible the continued viable use of historic buildings, particularly with special architectural character in town and city urban areas. The initiative gives highest priority to the repair of historic buildings and to bring derelict and under-used historic buildings back into use.

THI repair programmes bring new purpose and life back to areas in city centres that have lost their traditional economic base.

Examples of successful THI’s in the North West include Liverpool’s Rope Walks and Burnley Weavers Triangle.

Winckley Square Townscape Heritage Initiative

In 2011, Preston City Council secured funding as part of the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) to refurbish buildings of significant character around Winckley Square and in nearby streets.

The scheme’s vision is to reinstate original external features to period buildings and restore the historic character of the area, while designing internal space suitable for 21st century commercial activity.

The scheme also aims to support ways of adapting property for new purpose including business, commercial, retail, restaurants and bars.

Our target buildings

Determining target buildings under a Townscape Heritage Initiative requires a few considerations.

The buildings must be old and regarded as being an heritage asset through history or architecture.

Pre 1919 buildings are generally regarded as ‘traditional’ buildings – a key factor in qualifying for funding. Many targeted buildings are also listed building.

The condition of a building is also a key factor. Grant funding is more likely to be channelled towards a building with the roof falling in, rain pouring over guttering and windows falling out. Preserving properties at risk, and creating a negative impact to the appearance of the area are an important consideration.  

Properties like this are invariably owned by people who may not have a plan for their property. Hence a business case needs to be put together to find a long-term use for each targeted building. There is little point investing Heritage Lottery Funding on a building which will again lay dormant after refurbishment. 

Projects are therefore prioritised using these criteria and the willingness and ability of the property owners to make their contribution towards the project.

A completed buildings reinstatement includes:

  • The initial identification of target buildings.
  • Persuading owners to commit to an involvement which will involve additional expenditure.
  • Appointing architects to produce a draft scheme, plus full sets of working drawings as the scheme progresses through the planning application stage.
  • Appointing a contractor to complete within budget, but also with relevant expertise in historic buildings and more traditional construction techniques.
  • Property owners must also demonstrate a long-term business plan to guarantee the target property is brought back into use.
  • This ensures that Heritage Lottery Fund money which is ultimately provided by the public is spent in an effective manner.

Details of the Winckley Square THI scheme’s target building projects can be found below.

1-2 Cross Street

Bringing life back to a property that lay empty for many years with a ‘then and now’ design to make its purpose come full circle from the days as a surveyor and architect's office.

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Lambert Court

A print works left vacant with abandoned printing equipment and overrun with weeds now boasts a 21st century modern interior providing a bright and creative working environment.

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Cannon Street Landscape

Originally a one-way street with vehicles travelling uphill between narrow pavements, Cannon Street's new shared layout offers spacious outdoor areas to eat and drink in an al fresco environment.

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