Four businesses in Tewkesbury town centre are the first to receive grants from the town's Heritage Action Zone fund, with more money still available.
The High Street Heritage Action Zone is a partnership between Tewkesbury Borough Council and Historic England, which is providing £1 million of funding to regenerate the town's historic High Street and town centre.
The Grade II-listed Abbey Tea Rooms on Church Street is one of the first businesses to be awarded a grant, with the money going towards replacing the modern felting over its main ground floor window with traditional lead. Owners, Ian and Pixie Brown, said they were 'really pleased to be able to apply for this grant to protect our lovely building' as 'times are still difficult for small businesses'.
Pretty Special womenswear boutique, on Church Street, is receiving funding to repair, redecorate and protect the timber shopfront on its Grade II-listed building from weather damage.
While it isn't listed, No. 3 Church Street, home to CGT Lettings and recruitment firm In-Parallel, also receives a grant to replace its UPVC windows on the first, second and third floors with traditional wooden-framed sash windows; replace its current signs with traditional signage; and redecorate its façade.
The final grant awarded in this tranche of funding goes to Tewkesbury Town Council for works on Tewkesbury Town Hall, with the Grade II-listed building requiring cleaning and repairs to its stone façade using traditional lime mortar.
As well as encouraging local businesses to apply for grants, the HSHAZ team is also offering to help with the application process, assessing the work which needs to be done and providing advice on how to get listed building consent.
Leader of Tewkesbury Borough Council and lead member for economic development and promotion, Councillor Rob Bird, said: 'We are absolutely delighted that we are now in a position to offer grants to care for local buildings. It takes time to assess the works needed, get quotes and get any permissions you may need, so don’t delay – talk to us now if you think your building could benefit from improvement.'
Rebecca Barrett, regional director at Historic England, added: 'We are thrilled to see the grant funding being offered to such very different projects - all of them will have a positive impact on the town centre. This funding is there to support all types of historic building - it doesn’t have to be large or listed. It’s great to see many months of preparatory work coming to fruition.'
Another four grants are likely to be approved in the new few weeks, funding up to 75 per cent of the total cost of renovations, with the scheme due to end in spring 2024.