Prescot THI Blog

THI Partnership Board - First Meeting 9 October 2013

THI Partnership Board - First Meeting 9 October 2013

Hello again!

Sorry for the bit of a delay between the date of the Partnership Board and me publishing this blog entry about the meeting. I’ve been in rainy Edinburgh and rainy Glasgow for the last week on my postponed summer hols. The umpteenth visit to two of my favourite places – even when wet!

The First Partnership Board Meeting

As I outlined in my last blog post, the THI Partnership Board is the main decision-making body of the THI. Among other things it makes recommendations to the Council on every application for THI grants to repair, restore or re-use historic buildings in Prescot. the membership of the Board was approved by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which is the main funder of the THI (the Council and other partners have provided match funding).

The Board met for the first time on Wednesday 9th October. This was the first time many of the Board Members had met in person, so there were a lot of introductions and welcomes.

I gave a presentation to the Board explaining what progress on the THI had been made since March before moving on to the ‘main event’ of the meeting: the outline grant applications. I’ll go through the outline grant applications I presented to the Board in order:

11 Market Place

This very narrow (4 metre wide) building appears to date from the late eighteenth century. The shopfront is late Victorian and is one of the best-preserved shopfronts in the town centre. The building has been identified as a Priority Project by the HLF.

11 Market Place

11 Market Place

The outline grant application is to repair the building’s roof, chimney, lead-lined stone gutter and the structural beam over the shopfront. The windows would be replaced with traditional sash windows, while the shopfront would be conservatively repaired and restored.

The Board approved the outline application.

29-31 Eccleston Street

This is a building of two halves: the lower narrower no.31 dates from around 1800, while no. 29 forms part of a much larger building that dates from c.1830. At the back there were once watchmakers’ workshops, but little remains of these internally. The rest of the interior was altered in the mid and late twentieth century. The building has a double-fronted shopfront, and the upper floors are vacant.

29-31 Eccleston Street

29-31 Eccleston Street

The outline grant application is to repair the building’s roof, lead-lined stone gutter and brickwork. The missing chimneys would be reinstated, as would a more traditional shopfront. The biggest change would be upstairs where the empty floorspace would be converted into four new flats. These four flats will go a long way towards the THI’s target of providing a total of 18 new flats in the town centre.

The Board supported the outline application.

13-15 Atherton Street

This mid-terrace building dates from circa 1790 and was built as the home and workplaces of watchmakers. The broad workshop window openings survive on the back of the property. It seems they were homes and workshops until the twentieth century and for much of the time after that they had been knocked through to provide offices. Much of the building’s interior was changed decades ago when it was converted to offices. The building is presently completely vacant and has been for several years.

13-15 Atherton St

13-15 Atherton Street

The outline grant application is to repair the building’s exterior and to address its existing structural problems. The upper floors would be converted to two flats, while the ground floor would be converted to a new commercial unit. The former workshop windows would be accurately restored to their historic style and detailing.

The Board supported the outline application.

40 High Street

This end-of-terrace building at the end of Atherton Street has an unusual history. It seems to have been built like the rest of the terrace in around 1790, but it looks like the building was sliced in half and partly demolished around 1910 when High Street was widened to accommodate an extra tramline. It looks like there has been a shop at ground floor since the building took its reduced footprint. Incidentally, there was a pub opposite, the Nag’s Head, but this was demolished to make way for the same widening of High Street, but what is left of its plot remains empty.

40 High St

40 High Street

The outline application is to repair the exterior of the building. The chimneys would be restored, as would the prominent corner shopfront. The white paint covering most of the brickwork would be carefully removed to avoid damaging the bricks. The windows, roof and gutters would be repaired. The empty upper floors would be refurbished as a flat.

The Board supported the outline grant application.

What Happens Next?

A lot of time and hard work are needed to get a full grant application ready. This is why the HLF recommends doing the grant applications in two stages. The outline stage is the first stage. It lets building owners know whether or not they are going down the right track with their grant proposal before they put the time and effort into a full grant application.

Now that these four outline grant applications have been recommended for approval by the Partnership Board, the owners of these buildings can begin the process of putting together their full grant applications (the second stage of applying for a THI grant). This includes getting any planning permission or other consent needed and finding firms to do the works.

I hope that the Partnership Board will be considering the full versions of these grant applications early next year with the building works on any approvals starting before summer.

To have four outline grant applications approved so early on in the THI is a sign that things are moving in the right direction and Prescot town centre will benefit from the investment these grant applications will bring. If all of these outline projects go ahead, that’s seven new flats, one new business unit and three restored shopfronts (two of those being ‘double’ shopfronts) alongside the lift given to the conservation area by the buildings being repaired and restored. Not a bad start!

The Partnership Board is due to meet every two months for the foreseeable future. I’ll be trying my hardest to make sure that there is a steady flow of grant applications for it to consider!

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Get involved

Help shape the heritage initiative by taking part in consultations, or celebrate Prescot's history at events taking place throughout the project. Schools and colleges can also get hands-on with the past through activities and workshops for groups.

Heritage skills training

Historic buildings need people with the right knowledge to look after them. The THI will give people in and entering the local construction industry the opportunity to gain new skills and experience.

The THI will also help people find out more about careers in heritage.

Get in touch

Keep up-to-date by following us on twitter or find out more at 'Space to Create', the THI information centre on Eccleston Street.

You can also contact Owen Barton, THI Officer, by phone on 0151 443 2757 or by emailing owen.barton@knowsley.gov.uk.


Apply for grants

Owners of certain buildings in the Prescot Conservation Area can apply for grants to repair, restore and re-use their property.

Eligible properties are marked in red and orange.

Read the guide to applying for grants (PDF) and eligibility criteria (PDF) documents for detailed information about grants.

Conservation area appraisals

The conservation area appraisal (PDF) is a detailed assessment of Prescot's most historic areas.

The appraisal appendices (PDF) contain more detailed information and the management plan (PDF) outlines how the area will be managed.

Heritage Lottery Funded

© Knowsley Council 2013