Thursday, February 2, 2023

£8m secured to transform at-risk heritage and cultural sites in East Lindsey

Three historic sites are set to benefit from £8m Levelling Up funding from the Government.

The Government has announced East Lindsey District Council has been successful in its bid to support ambitious regeneration schemes for Alford Manor House, Alford Windmill and Spilsby Sessions House.

The funding will help transform these culturally significant sites, attract new visitors and enhance their uses. The Levelling Up Round 2 investment will create a financially stable future for the three at risk heritage assets and will have a beneficial impact on the entire Lincolnshire Wolds tourism economy.

The Levelling Up Fund is specifically designed to secure capital investment in infrastructure that has the potential to improve lives and give people pride in their communities. The fund is one component of the Government ‘Levelling Up’ ambition.

The Government is supporting all the LUF projects put forward by the whole of the South & East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership with £14.8m awarded to Boston Borough Council, £20m to South Holland District Council and £8m in East Lindsey. Each scheme will see projects which will be transformational for each district for generations, through job creation, new opportunities, driving inward investment and supporting the health and wellbeing of residents.

Spilsby Sessions House is to be supported to bring the building back into use as a theatre and as a community-owned space. The listed building also has a significant place in history, for its past use as a jail, and funding would allow the building’s old police cells to be opened to the public, creating a new visitor attraction.

£2.5m is going to Alford Manor House to create a permanent function space as well as the relocation and improvement of the tearoom and kitchen, freeing up space for improved displays within the museum.

£1.1m is secured for Alford Windmill to help save the historic mill which is now on the Heritage at Risk register. Work will see the mill restored and reopen as a major attraction, including a new visitor experience, café and shop.

All these projects have been developed in partnership with the local community and through East Lindsey’s commitment to its Vital and Viable programme which supports businesses in our market towns with initiatives aimed to drive footfall.

Cllr Adam Grist, portfolio holder for market towns and rural economy at East Lindsey District Council, said: “It is fantastic news for Spilsby and Alford to be awarded this funding which will revive facilities which are historically and socially important for both towns.

“The funding will truly be transformational for these heritage sites and the communities they support. New tourist attractions which enhance the current offer will be created which will help secure their use for generations to come.

“These projects are vitally important for supporting the tourism offer in the Lincolnshire Wolds and wider East Lindsey. Enhancing the district’s visitor offer as a whole will help the market towns attract visitors and holiday makers from our coastal towns.

“Securing this funding is a great day for the community groups and a celebration of partnership working. There are so many hardworking people committed to these cultural facilities and I am so delighted the Government has recognised this and is supporting us to help keep these facilities thriving.

“I would like to thank everyone who was involved in this bid and all the community groups who wrote letters of support.”

Bruce Knight, heritage & arts co-ordinator at Spilsby Sessions House, said: “We are so pleased about the Levelling Up decision. The Spilsby Sessions House charity will now be able to realise the vision of fully repairing the Grade II listed heritage site and transforming a theatre at risk into a visitor attraction and community arts venue for all.

“The impact of this project will be a huge boost for the local community and for East Lindsey as whole. It will complement the Town Deal investment the District Council has already achieved for the coast and will create something that people across the region can be proud of.”

Dennis Bell of Alford Manor House and Alford Windmill said: “The purpose behind the Levelling Up fund application is the transformation of Alford by establishing a viable tourist product to attract the tens of thousands of tourists holidaying on the coast to visit Alford.

“This extra footfall will boost the local economy and provide jobs for the future.”

Victoria Atkins, MP for Louth and Horncastle, said: “I am delighted by the news that Alford and Spilsby will benefit from a boost of £8million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund. This transformational funding will bolster the cultural offer to constituents and visitors and support the local economy.

“Since being elected, I have championed our market towns and have worked with community groups on reviving and enhancing much loved heritage sites that are at the heart of our communities. I have pressed the Government to invest in our corner of Lincolnshire and was pleased to support this bid in partnership with East Lindsey District Council.

“On top of the landmark £24million Mablethorpe Towns Fund, this substantial funding will help ensure the constituency of Louth & Horncastle continues to be a bright place to live, work and visit for future generations.”

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