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Appleby heritage action zone will help revive the historic town

  • Historic Appleby chosen as one of the country’s first ten Heritage Action Zones
  • The £1.6m five-year scheme will revive the town’s tourism economy

From left to right: Matthew Neal, Deputy Chief Executive, Eden District Council, Priya Walters, Mayor of Appleby, Cllr John Pape, Cllr Mike Slee, Eden District Council, Mayoress of Appleby Mrs Jennifer Pape, Catherine Dewar, Historic EnglandThe conservation area in Appleby-in-Westmorland has been chosen as one of the country’s first Heritage Action Zones (HAZ) - the only one in North West. Historic England is the driving force behind this nationwide initiative, which will breathe new life into areas that are rich in uncelebrated heritage. The town joins Coventry, Elsecar, Hull, King's Lynn, Nottingham, Ramsgate, Sunderland, Sutton and Weston-Super-Mare.

This five year project is based on a partnership between Historic England, Eden District Council and Appleby-in-Westmorland Town Council, who are working together with the local community to use the power of Appleby’s heritage to boost the local economy. The overall investment over five years is estimated to be £1,650,000, with Historic England contributing around £760,000.

Since the devastating major winter floods in 2015/2016, Appleby has been designated a Conservation Area at Risk and several buildings feature on the Heritage at Risk Register. Tourism is one of the town’s major industries, but Appleby has suffered from a decline in visitor numbers in recent years.

The Heritage Action Zone scheme will grow Appleby’s tourism economy, and engage the local community through heritage open days and projects with local schools to help restore the town’s conservation area and public realm for future generations to enjoy.

Catherine Dewar, Planning Director North West for Historic England, said: "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 to an improved 'visitor offer' providing a boost to tourism which, in turn, will help to grow the town's economy."

Appleby’s Mayor, Councillor John Pape said: "We are over the moon that Appleby has been chosen, the heritage of the town is key to attracting tourism and is therefore a vital factor in supporting the local economy. We are also pleased that the Moot Hall, which is owned by the Council, will be one of the projects that is included. A recent condition survey has revealed substantial works are required to repair the building which has been damaged by damp. The Appleby Town Council is keenly aware of its responsibility with regard to the II* listed building and welcomes the support of the Heritage Action Zone and Historic England in getting the necessary repairs completed."

Eden District Council's Economic Development Portfolio Holder, Councillor Mike Slee, said: "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 Programme Officer for the Appleby HAZ; this person will be responsible for the project’s day to day delivery. Eden District 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."


Picture caption: From left to right - Matthew Neal, Deputy Chief Executive, Eden District Council, Priya Walters, Mayor of Appleby, Cllr John Pape, Cllr Mike Slee, Eden District Council, Mayoress of Appleby Mrs Jennifer Pape, Catherine Dewar, Historic England

Notes to editors:

Appleby Heritage Action Zone will be led by the following local organisations:

Some of the aims of the Appleby HAZ are:

  • Improving shop fronts in the conservation area
  • Repairing and restoring a number of listed buildings at risk in the conservation area
  • Development of a flood resilience plan
  • Assisting the community to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for Appleby
  • Increasing visitor numbers to Appleby
  • New jobs created by bringing vacant shops back into use
  • Exploring opportunities for tourism with Appleby Castle
  • Enhanced tourist information resources in the Tourist Information Centre and around the town
  • A management plan of Appleby Conservation Area to help future development

Heritage action zones

Heritage Action Zones will unleash the power in England’s historic environment to create economic growth and improve quality of life in villages, towns and cities.

Working with local people and partners, Historic England will help to breathe new life into old places that are rich in heritage and full of promise - unlocking their potential and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors. We will do this with joint-working, grant funding and sharing our skills.

Historic buildings that have deteriorated through decades of neglect will be restored and put back into use; conservation areas improved to kick-start regeneration and renewal; and unsung places will be recognised and celebrated for their unique character and heritage, helping instil a sense of local pride wherever there’s a Heritage Action Zone.

Read more about heritage action zones on Historic England