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Published: Monday, 26th October 2020

Woolwich is one of 68 high streets across England, and one of only five in London, set to benefit from the £95 million government-funded High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme.  

Working with Historic England, the council will use the £3.8m of investment to transform and restore empty and run-down buildings into creative spaces, offices, retail outlets and housing to regenerate the area and restore its cultural heritage.   

The funding will come from a Grant Funding Agreement between Historic England and the Royal Borough of Greenwich of £1,766,134, and a match funding contribution from the council. Our match funding contribution, of £2,040,166, is made up of capital budget and contributions from Section 106 agreements.* 

The four-year project aims to ensure the sustainability of heritage buildings by improving and enhancing the town's architectural and historical assets. The regeneration and conservation of historic shop fronts and facades is one of the ways we hope to achieve this.  

Cllr Sarah Merrill, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Growth, said: 

“If there’s ever been a time when our high streets need a boost it’s now. Improvements such as restoring shop fronts sound simple enough, but the impact on the appeal of Woolwich town centre to residents and visitors will be big. Not only that, but the area has a rich cultural and historical heritage, and this project will encourage people to get involved and guarantee its future for generations to come.” 

A cultural programme focussed on working with residents, businesses and local cultural organisations to develop events designed to encourage local people to engage with local heritage is also being established.  This will include original, positive and culturally inclusive events that foster local pride and promote Woolwich’s diversity, its communities, local history and aspirations.  

Richard Parish Historic Places Adviser, Historic England, said:  

"Every high street has a distinctive history that can be harnessed to help it achieve a prosperous future. In Woolwich, the £1.7m Government investment and generous match-funding will unlock the potential of the high street and help it thrive again. We’re excited to help deliver a High Streets Action Zone that will restore shop fronts and facades, and explore how historic buildings can be repurposed - looking after and celebrating the places at the heart of our communities, and the buildings and public spaces which define their character." 

About High Streets Heritage Action Zones   

Historic England is working with local people and partners through grant funding and sharing our skills to help breathe new life into high streets that are rich in heritage and full of promise - unlocking their potential and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors. The High Streets Heritage Action Zones scheme, backed by government funding, aims to help with the recovery of local high streets from regenerating historic buildings to helping to engage local communities through art and cultural projects.  

About Historic England  

We are Historic England the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories these places tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all. 

* Cabinet Meeting decision subject to call-in until 29 October. View Cabinet Meeting decisions and documents.