Ramsgate has been chosen as one of the country’s first ‘Heritage Action Zones’, in a new nationwide scheme from Historic England which provide an estimated £400,000 to the project over five years, to be matched by £10,000 a year from Ramsgate Town Council.
Using the heritage in the town, which has 442 listed buildings, the project aims to attract new investment into Ramsgate and create apprenticeships, boost tourism and involve schools and the community in exhibitions and heritage-related skills training.
Ramsgate is one of just 10 areas chosen for the HAZ status.
The scheme will also involve Historic England working with Thanet District Council to carry out urgent work to preserve vacant or partially occupied listed buildings in the town.
The project will run in partnership with Thanet District Council, Ramsgate Coastal Community Team, Ramsgate Town Council and The Ramsgate Society.
A skilled project officer will be funded to coordinated the programme of activities and promote the opportunities for people to get involved.
‘Amazing heritage stories’
Andy Brown, Planning Director for Historic England in the South East, said: “Ramsgate is one of the great English coastal towns with a fascinating maritime history. As well as Britain’s only Royal Harbour, the town is blessed with a wonderful variety of historic sites including buildings by the architect Augustus Pugin, who is famous for designing the interiors of the Palace of Westminster, including his own house and the neighbouring church.
“But this barely scratches the surface of what Ramsgate has to offer as a historic town. The Heritage Action Zone partnership brings together the national skills and local passion which will make use of its amazing heritage stories and places to reinvigorate Ramsgate, helping to grow the local economy, boosting tourism and business investment as well as encouraging the local community to reconnect with its heritage with a renewed sense of pride.”
Cllr Lin Fairbrass, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Services at Thanet District Council, said: “Ramsgate combines outstanding heritage and architecture with a beautiful marine landscape and engaging history. Being chosen as one of the country’s first ten Heritage Action Zone will not only raise awareness of our town as a heritage destination to attract visitors and investors but will also reinforce our sense of identity and pride. The partnership will act as a catalyst for regeneration and we look forward to Ramsgate being better understood, enjoyed, valued and protected.”
Ramsgate Town Council and Jenny Dawes from the Ramsgate Coastal Community Team confirmed their support and John Walker, from Ramsgate Civic Society, added: “The Ramsgate Society welcomes the announcement by Historic England that Ramsgate has been designated as an Heritage Action Zone, one of only 10 in England. This recognises the importance of Ramsgate’s heritage and the role that it can play in regeneration and economic growth. As a partner in this project we have worked closely with Historic England, Ramsgate Town Council and Thanet District Council to develop several projects that over the next 5 years will engage local people in improving their knowledge of the value of our heritage which makes Ramsgate such a special place to visit and live.”
The scheme launches today (March 20) at 19 Harbour Street, Ramsgate, from 11am to 4pm.
Historic England is asking for the views of residents on what they think of their local heritage now. Views can be shared here
Heritage Action Zones: Where and What are they?
Ramsgate joins Appleby in Cumbria, Coventry in the West Midlands, Elsecar in South Yorkshire, Hull in East Yorkshire, King’s Lynn in North Norfolk, Nottingham in the East Midlands, Sunderland in Tyne and Wear, Sutton in South London and Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, which have all been selected as Heritage Action Zones.
Heritage Action Zones will unleash the power in England’s historic environment to create economic growth and improve quality of life in villages, towns and cities.
Working with local people and partners, Historic England will unlock potential in the HAZ areas and make them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors. This will be done with joint-working, grant funding and sharing skills.
Historic buildings that have deteriorated through decades of neglect will be restored and put back into use; conservation areas improved to kick-start regeneration and renewal; and unsung places will be recognised and celebrated for their unique character and heritage.