Stockport Council and Stockport Heritage Trust are celebrating after being awarded £1.8 million of National Lottery funding for their ‘Rediscover the Underbanks’ project from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The announcement is a huge boost for the Underbanks, located at the heart of Stockport’s Old Town. Working with the local community and businesses, the project will help breathe new life into the area, celebrating its truly unique townscape.
‘Rediscover the Underbanks’ will support a range of projects aimed at transforming Stockport’s historic high street into a vibrant destination for businesses and visitors, whilst also telling the area’s stories to new audiences.
Working in partnership with property owners, investors and local businesses, the project will focus on the repair and re-use of historic buildings, including the reinstatement of traditional shop fronts and features. At the same time, a range of community led events and digital platforms will allow new audiences to explore the Underbanks and its history for themselves.
The award comes following a successful first round bid by Stockport Council and Stockport Heritage Trust to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Townscape Heritage programme. Today’s announcement means that Stockport Council has been awarded a first round pass providing funding towards the further development of the ‘Rediscover the Underbanks’ project. This gives the green light to develop the project over the coming year.
Stockport Council’s Executive Member for Economy and Regeneration, Councillor Kate Butler said: “This £1.8m award is big news for the Underbanks and I’m incredibly proud of our success in what was an extremely competitive bidding process. We have so much to be proud of in Stockport with a wealth of fascinating history, heritage and culture to explore. These are exciting times for us and this further investment will perfectly complement the Council’s commitment to regeneration across the town centre.”
Coral Dranfield from Stockport Heritage Trust commented: “Stockport Heritage Trust feels excited that the importance of the Underbanks has been recognised with the award of this National Lottery grant and that, after regeneration, it will emerge again as a ‘place to go and enjoy a unique experience’. Rediscovering the Underbanks is already underway with guided walks, a new booklet and basing 2017 Heritage Open Days around discovering the history of the Underbanks.”
Nathan Lee, Head of HLF North West, said: “We’ve been investing money raised through the National Lottery in the UK’s historic conservation areas for more than 20 years and we’ve seen first-hand the incredible difference it has made to local communities. This project in particular has the potential to have a powerful effect not only on local pride but also on local economic prosperity in Stockport.”
Over the coming months the Council will be working with partners and businesses to develop the project proposals. Residents and businesses will be invited to provide their ideas during this process. Further details about how to do this will be published as soon as the engagement process begins.