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Friday, 22 May 2015

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Alston on course for town centre revamp

A BID to spruce up Alston’s town centre, has been awarded nearly £70,000 in Heritage Lottery funding.

Alston Moor Partnership secured the cash to take forward a £1.3m townscape heritage project to revamp the town centre, refurbishing a number of properties and encouraging people to shop local.

Over the coming year the partnership will use the first injection of cash to develop the scheme in more detail.

It will also host a number of activities including guided heritage walks and open archive days, culminating in an exhibition of old photographs from the area, as well as offering guidance on improving energy efficient in old buildings.

If the town’s stage two bid is successful project organisers want to provide grant funding to enable the owners of town centre properties to carry out essential repairs and improvements, such as reinstating traditional windows and shop-fronts.

There will also be funding to improve the “streetscape” by providing flagged crossings over Alston’s cobbled main street.

MP for Penrith and the Borders Rory Stewart, said: “I think it is wonderful news that Alston has recognised the intrinsic value of its unique buildings and the incredibly beautiful character of its vernacular architecture, which I believe to be some of the finest of any market town in the North-West.

“We need to take steps to preserve and value our built communities, which is one of the reasons we attract so many visitors to towns like Alston.”

Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North-West, Sara Hilton, added that the investment would go “well beyond the bricks and mortar of a building”, helping turn around the local economy and restore the town centre as the hub of the community.