June 18, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

Community breathes new life into Redruth’s historic buildings and town centre

Redruth Town Centre map

An independent report shows how community involvement and the revitalisation of five key historic sites has been a game-changer in Redruth.  

The report by Rose Regeneration confirms the positive effect of investment into Redruth town centre after a four-year High Street Heritage Action Zone programme (HSHAZ), which came to a close at the end of March this year.

Evaluation of the Redruth High Street Heritage Action Zone

The evaluation report highlights how the successful bid by Cornwall Council on behalf of Redruth for HSHAZ status in 2019 resulted in over £1.6 million of funding being awarded by Historic England, and a further £4.4 million secured by Cornwall Council and local partners.

The Redruth HSHAZ has resulted in a social return on investment of £2.68 for each £1 invested and a Benefit Cost Ratio of 3.78, indicating high value for money, comparing the cost of the project against the benefits or outcomes against Government benchmarks. The programme has also led to increased public awareness and appreciation of Redruth’s heritage, with key landmark buildings and cultural events being positively received by the local community.

Cornwall Council portfolio holder for economy, Louis Gardner, said: 

“The investment and hard work of the community has acted as a catalyst for heritage-led regeneration to improve the prosperity of the town centre. It continues to involve and serve the local community and businesses, adapting to the challenges that all high streets have experienced over the last few decades. Working in collaboration with the community and local businesses, the Redruth HSHAZ scheme has had a far-reaching positive social and economic impact, delivering heritage-led regeneration and cultural programming that has breathed new life into the town centre and established a vision and a set of values that will guide future decision-making.”

The Redruth HSHAZ has revitalised five key sites in the town centre:

  • The London Inn (Nos.33 & 34 Fore Street) has been brought back into use offering affordable commercial units at street level and town centre residential accommodation above and behind.
  • The Buttermarket cluster of historic buildings are being refurbished with completion anticipated in July 2024, creating a vibrant space for independent businesses including an innovative food offer to boost the nighttime economy, as well as providing a venue for regular markets and wide-ranging events programmes.
  • The Ladder is a new creative and community hub in the former Passmore Edwards Library, which was listed at Grade II as part of the HSHAZ. The building is being conserved and refurbished by a new Community Interest Company, securing the long-term future of the former library for the community. 
  • 81 Fore Street the former HSBC Bank which had been empty for a number of years was purchased by Redruth Revival CIC using HSHAZ funding as a new location for Mining Exchange Studios – a collective of artists and makers.
  • Redruth Civic Centre & Library and Information Service moved to new premises on Alma Place with the important community service devolved to Redruth Town Council.

The Redruth HSHAZ also awarded a number of repair and improvement grants to priority historic buildings in the town centre, and funded initiatives to improve access around Redruth, including new town centre maps. The HSHAZ supported local businesses to recover from the effects of the pandemic on town centres by establishing a HSHAZ Project Board and Cultural Consortium and organising a number of ‘creative get togethers’ that brought people and businesses in the community together to find creative and collaborative solutions to the issues facing Redruth.

Led by Cornwall Council, the four-year programme was delivered in partnership with Redruth Town Council and other local organisations, including Redruth Revival CIC, Redruth Chamber of Commerce, Creative Kernow, Redruth Former Library CIC, Coastline Housing, Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change, Cornwall Heritage Trust, Golden Tree Productions, The Writers’ Block, Redruth School, Hideaway77 and many local businesses and individuals.

In addition to the main grant of £1.6 million, Historic England awarded a grant of £80,000 to deliver ‘Redruth Unlimited’, a four-year programme of cultural commissions to stimulate increased footfall and reconnect the community with the town centre. Over 168 artists were involved in delivering the programme, supported by 1,148 volunteers.  Redruth Unlimited attracted 2,931 participants and an estimated total audience of well over 32,000.  Redruth Unlimited was managed by FEAST and it levered £82,851 in additional match funding for Redruth.

Councillor Barbara Ellenbroek, Town and Cornwall Councillor representing Redruth South and Chair of the Redruth HSHAZ Board, said:

“It has been an honour to chair the board during the scheme and to be a part of the amazing results it has achieved. It’s a real testament to the power of people working together that we have increased the value of the original investment and kick started even more regeneration projects. Through the Agents4Change project we have tried to engage with our young people, to ensure that they are part of the process. By combining investment in buildings with community engagement and cultural events, the programme has really helped to boost people’s pride in Redruth, reanimate the high street, reconnect communities with the town’s remarkable past and drive economic growth.” 

Rebecca Barrett, Regional Director for the South West at Historic England, said:

 “Seeing the progress of the Redruth High Street Heritage Action Zone over the last four years has been a real privilege. From imaginative cultural events that have helped to animate the high street; to the repurposing of handsome historic buildings that tell the story of Redruth’s industrial past to provide new community and commercial uses – it’s been a success from start to finish. And that success is testament to the hard work of so many people from Redruth’s community, for which we’re hugely grateful.”

Judy Davidson MBE, Chair of Redruth Revival CIC (which owns the Buttermarket) said:

“The HSHAZ scheme has been the fundamental catalyst in getting our regeneration scheme started and we would not be approaching a successful reopening of this important heritage asset without it. The Buttermarket project, together with other HSHAZ funded projects such as The London Inn, have not only restored heritage buildings but given them a new purpose to ensure their sustainability into the future.”

Arts & Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said:

“Our high streets are the arteries which have provided the lifeblood of our communities down the ages. Each generation has left their mark on them, and the way we use them continues to change. 
“The brilliant High Street Heritage Action Zones have enabled people across the country to learn about the hidden histories of the buildings they pass every day, helping to shed light on the past, bring people together in the present, and inspire new ideas for the future. 
“Historic England has done brilliant work – with the support of the Government, and the involvement of local authorities, community trusts and arts organisations – to deliver this programme over the past four years, helping our high streets to spring back to life after the pandemic, and ensuring that they will remain at the heart of their communities for generations to come.” 

Story posted 14 May 2024