The first step in a five-year project to restore and protect Wellingborough’s heritage will start next week.
Wellingborough council is launching a scheme to bring town centre shop fronts back to their former glory.
Shops along Sheep Street, Silver Street, Market Street, Cambridge Street and parts of High Street could be eligible for grants, which would see period features uncovered, repaired and restored.
Modern doors and windows could be replaced to be more in keeping with the buildings, and large fascia signs could be swapped for something more traditional.
Shopkeepers have been invited to drop-in events being held from Monday, October 22 to Friday, October 26, where they can find out more about the grants which could range from £1,000 up to £20,000.
The events will take place each day between 10am 2pm at 17 Market Street, next to Oliver Adams.
Cllr Tim Allebone, chairman of the council’s development committee, said: “We have some really beautiful buildings in our town centre, with a lot of history and character. Unfortunately, over the years, quite a bit of this character has been covered up or fallen into disrepair, and a number of shop fronts no longer match the buildings that they belong to. Many of the traditional market town features do still exist, but work needs to be done to discover these hidden treasures and bring them back to their former glory.
“We’ve managed to secure a large amount of lottery money to help fund this work and we’ll be offering grants to eligible shop owners in the town. We’ll help them through every step of the application process and offer expert advice on what needs doing. We’d hope to have contractors on site in some of the shops by next spring.
“As well as restoring the historic character of individual shops, the scheme will benefit traders and shoppers as the whole area will improve in appearance, protecting our heritage for the future.”
The grants scheme is part of the council’s Townscape Heritage Initiative, which is supported by £1.4m of Heritage Lottery Funding. Other projects in the THI include the restoration of key building such as the Grade II listed Hind Hotel which dates back to 1645, as well as developing a heritage trail through the town’s medieval streets, and providing training and education on traditional trades such as stonemasonry.