Grant Submitted for Ledbury Places

First published in News by

A GRANT application for £2m has been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund to secure the future of six key buildings in Ledbury town centre.

The Ledbury Places scheme, which was headed by the Civic Society and is now run by a board, has already drawn up a feasibility study and business plan for important assets.

These include Ledbury Market House, Heritage Centre, the Town Council Offices, the Elizabeth Barrett Browning Institute, the Butcher Row House Museum and the Burgage Hall.

Alex Clive, a board member for the Ledbury Places scheme said: "A huge amount of work has gone into this 9000 word document and we are confident we are putting forward the best grant application we can."

Ideas in the feasibility study include using the seventeenth century Market House as a main heritage centre, which would involve installing a lift for disabled access, and moving the town council offices to the Elizabeth Barrett Browning Institute.

The late-Victorian Institute, which includes the Ledbury clock tower, will cease to be the town library when the Master's House re-opens, early next year.

The existing town council offices, in Church Lane, could be used for a mix of meetings, weddings, holiday lets, residential flats and a work studio.

But all ideas put forward by Ledbury Places will be subject to public consultation next year, if all goes to plan.

Mr Clive said it will be January 2015 before Ledbury Places finds out whether its application has been successful and whether the project can progress to the next stage.

He said: "It seems that more and more people can see the fantastic opportunity Ledbury Places offers for the future of our town.

“In our application we have emphasised the wide range of opinions we have sought but I think it is vital that local people understand that the consultation process is ongoing. There will be opportunities for everyone to have their say during the development phase should our stage one grant application prove successful and allow the project to move forward."

After consultation, and if the money is forthcoming, development work on the buildings could start as soon as the middle of 2016.

Mr Clive believes action is needed to secure a long town sustainable future for the buildings.

He said:“Many of these buildings are in urgent need of restoration work while as a community we must try to make better use of them to ensure their long-term viability and sustainability.

“Ledbury Places is not about benefitting any one individual, it is about benefitting our community, and the the aim of this project is to convert these buildings into sympathetically restored, accessible, income generating heritage spaces that will contribute to the overall tourist appeal and economic prosperity of Ledbury.”

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