Top international regeneration experts to mastermind Fylde market town's transformation
A £3.5m plan to revitalise a Fylde market town have been boosted by the appointment of a top regeneration specialist.
Urban design specialists The Paul Hogarth Company – whose work includes the transformation of Belfast’s famed waterfront and Titanic Quarter into a world-renowned tourist destination – will play a key role in reshaping and revitalising Kirkham
The ancient market town, a former Roman settlement, has secured £1.8m through Historic England’s £95m High Streets Heritage Action Zone scheme.
The cash will be added to funding from Fylde Borough Council and Kirkham Town Council, to create a £3.5m fund to be spent on reviving Kirkham’s historic core conservation area.
This investment is a vital part of the wider £10m Kirkham Futures masterplan which aims to re-energise Kirkham town centre for residents, businesses and visitors by:
Restoring and re-purposing key buildings
Improving the visual appearance of shops, streets and open spaces
Introducing diverse uses of buildings to create new opportunities for retail, residential, employment, training and skills
Encouraging new leisure and restaurant businesses to create a more diverse offer and enhanced evening economy
Supporting sustainable economic and cultural growth
The Paul Hogarth Company team, based in Edinburgh, Belfast and Dublin, in partnership with Fylde Borough Council and Historic England, will put together and deliver plans to improve outdoor spaces within Kirkham’s Conservation Area – which includes the town’s famous Market Square and central streets.
Their first task will be to gauge the views of local residents and businesses as part of a series of consultation events, beginning on Monday, April 19.
Andrew Haley, director with The Paul Hogarth Company, said: “We are thrilled to have been appointed to develop proposals for Kirkham. This project truly resonates with our commitment to ‘making a difference by designing places and spaces with people and the environment at their heart’.
“Critical to the success will be the participation of local people and businesses and we look forward to working with as many as possible to help shape the designs.
“We want to ensure the proposals can make a really positive difference – not just as the town centre recovers from the impact of the pandemic, but as a sustainable vibrant place for the long-term. For that reason, we urge everyone to join #TheKirkhamConversation!”
In developing proposals specific to Kirkham, the firm will draw on its experience from across the UK and internationally – including recent award-winning projects at Hillsborough Castle, the Royal Residence in Northern Ireland, with its heritage focus; the revitalisation of Lisburn City Centre and the Wild Atlantic Way, which has through tourism underpinned economic regeneration on the west coast of Ireland.
Historic England’s Tamsin Cooke said: “The Paul Hogarth Company has a proven track record of delivering high quality, heritage-led regeneration. We’re excited to see the results of their collaboration with the local community on the future shape of Kirkham’s historic high street.”
While the Paul Hogarth team’s initial work will be centred on Kirkham’s Conservation Area – which includes sections of Poulton Street, Preston Street, Freckleton Street and Church Street – it is hoped this will soon be widened across the town centre.
Fylde Borough Council is currently awaiting final approval of its successful bid to central government for funding from the Future High Street Fund.
A FHSF grant of more than £6m was provisionally approved in December and it is hoped the funding will enable a new Heritage and Eco Skills Centre, Arts Centre and Community Cinema, together with re-development of empty shops and new town centre housing, creating new work and leisure opportunities.
Andrew Chatterjee, Fylde Council’s HS HAZ project manager, said: “The challenges Kirkham’s high street faces are significant, and transformation of the scale needed cannot be achieved without considerable investment, new thinking and new partnerships.
“We are therefore delighted to have appointed The Paul Hogarth Company. They have delivered many important regeneration projects over the last 30 years and their knowledge, skills and vast experience will be instrumental in delivering a successful project for Kirkham.
“The views and involvement of local people is absolutely crucial to the success of the masterplan and I would urge everyone to get involved in the consultation and join
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