£200k granted for Rasen townscape heritage project

The creation of a heritage-led project will finally see a promised £200k investment come to Market Rasen.
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The money was allocated to the town by West Lindsey District Council back in July 2018 to support growth and regeneration.

Since then, a project has failed to be identified within the terms of the funding, but last week the council’s Prosperous Communities Committee agreed to a change in focus for the money.

This means the money can now be used for a heritage-led regeneration project.

The move was enthusiastically supported by all members of the committee, non-more than Coun Paul Howitt-Cowan.

He said: “As the champion of heritage for West Lindsey, I think this is a very exciting project.

“Hopefully there will be match funding; £200k will not go very far as we know.

“The possibilities for community engagement in this project are very, very exciting indeed.”

It is proposed a small townscape heritage project would be developed, with the help of the council’s experienced officers.

Within Market Rasen there are 49 listed buildings, 30 within the traditional shopping streets; 26 are Grade II or Grade II* listed, something Sally Grindrod-Smith, Assistant Director of Planning and Regeneration, described as ‘a real historic asset to the town’.

She continued: “Funds would be used to utilise the conservation deficit for any owners looking to invest and regenerate these properties; it is well reported and recorded it can be very expensive to regenerate our heritage assets to a quality finish.”

Mrs Grindrod-Smith said a review of the Market Rasen conservation area had been highlighted, so this will be included in the programme, with work beginning at the end of March to refresh that document.

The whole project will be embedded with support of Market Rasen Town Council, but local engagement will be key to driving it forward.

Coun Stephen Bunney said: “We are very grateful to be given this opportunity of £200k. To find a project on economic development has not been easy, but through that lots of people have come together and the whole concept of heritage has emerged as being the way forward.

“This heritage visitor economy all links in very well; a lot of good work has been done up at the railway station and it all ties together to be a good project

“So we are very encouraged by this suggestion to move direction and there are many people coming forward who I am sure will be happy to be part of the community support groups required to take the project forward.”

Speaking at the meeting last week, Julie Taylor, a member of the Town Partnership group, supported the change in focus for funding.
She said: “We are all desperate to see the end of this current crisis, but one consequence of this past year has shown the strength of the combined energy, commitment and initiative of the community of Market

Rasen. We see our work over the coming years to include the development of the town’s economic fortunes. We are also committed to the protection, development and promotion of the natural environment and heritage of our historic buildings.”