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10.06.05
Town regeneration success

A scheme to transform the historic areas in a seaside town is attracting nationwide attention. The Falmouth Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme (HERS), was a project worth almost £2 million. It began in 2000 and finished earlier this year. While there are now several similar schemes in key towns around Cornwall, Falmouth HERS was the first of its kind to receive Objective One investment.

Led by Carrick District Council it made use of grants totalling almost £1 million, plus match funding from beneficiaries, to make improvements to the town's historic opeways, with new surfaces and lighting and to buildings, by the reinstatement of lost architectural details and to others by making vital repairs. Local artists were also involved to design public seats and distinctive metalwork.

Alyson Cooper project manager, said that the project, of which more than £300,000 came from Objective One, had created as well as safeguarded jobs and led to millions of pounds of additional income for businesses. Successes include:

20 buildings improved of which at least 13 are Listed Buildings;
8 buildings at risk of collapse or in a condition seriously affecting business, brought back into full use;
8 new shop fronts;
10 opes improved;
23 FTE gross direct jobs created;
£3.17 million gross additional sales;
2 training schemes benefiting 15 local contractors

The project is now attracting nationwide attention and Carrick District Council is being asked to demonstrate its best practice to organisations including English Heritage. Alyson said: "We have sent digital copies of the applications to other HERS schemes in Cornwall and Devon so project officers can use them for best practice and do not have to reinvent the wheel. In September we had a visit from almost 30 English Heritage inspectors from all over the country because they wanted to look at the practice we had adopted.

"The scheme has also had other benefits. As well as spending money on grant aided repairs and enhancements, owners have invested in additional works to their properties. Further, we have found that businesses adjacent to HERS projects have been spurred on to improve their premises.”

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership, said: "The schemes that target town centres serve two purposes as far as the Programme is concerned. They protect and improve Cornwall’s historic character and by improving buildings and public areas, they give a new lease of life in commercial terms and attract visitors. Falmouth HERS has also boosted civic pride and encouraged people to aspire to higher standards for the appearance of their businesses and buildings.”

One of the businesses to benefit from the Falmouth HERS was the Grove Hotel, owned by Geoff and Sian Cumins. Improvements to the Grade II listed building included a new roof, repaired railings and expert work on the facade to restore it to its original 1840s splendour. Mr Cumins said they felt the scheme was a trigger for them to undertake additional works to the property. "We are very grateful and thankful for the HERS scheme, the works have completely uplifted the building, attracting many new customers. The scheme has been instrumental in pushing the business forward and contributed to the success. Customers are returning year after year.”

A similar scheme is now underway in Falmouth's neighbour, Penryn, the Townscape Heritage Initiative. That has received £670,000 from the Objective One ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) and is also led by Carrick District Council, which is contributing £100,000. Others contributing include SWRDA (£170,000) and the Heritage Lottery Fund (£400,000).

Chris Matthews, who works with Alyson as conservation project officer, said that accessibility was also key to the regeneration schemes. "We want to go beyond the minimum legal requirement and want to be recognised for best practice, to maintain historic features yet build in accessibility.”

For further information please contact Clare Morgan, the Objective One Partnership Office on 01872 223439 or 07973 813647 or email: cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Falmouth Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme (HERS) through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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Editor's notes:

Led by Carrick District Council Falmouth HERS was a package of heritage grants, worth more than £930,000. Almost £362,000 came from the Objective One European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Nearly £107,000 for Falmouth's HERS project was provided by Carrick, with £150,000 coming from the Single Regeneration Budget , £191,000 from English Heritage and £121,000 contributed by Cornwall County Council.

Calculation of outputs

20 buildings improved of which at least 12 are grade II Listed Buildings and 1 grade II* Listed Building. The setting of a further 45 listed buildings will have been enhanced as a direct result of works to target buildings and the opes.
10 opes improved. These environmental enhancements have also resulted in the provision of disabled access to Falmouth Art Gallery (off Webber Hill) and improved disabled access to a restaurant off Well Lane Opes. The new surfacing is less slippery than the tarmac used previously and accessibility and safety has been improved by installing handrails made by a local firm. Community safety has been improved through new lighting, securing boundaries, rebuilding collapsing walls and making previously perceived no go areas into key pedestrian routes, linking housing and car parks to the commercial area.

Geoff or Sian Cumins – Grove Hotel, 01326 319577.

For information or a selection of before and after photographs - Alyson Cooper, Carrick District Council, 01872 224570.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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