Skip to main content

Heritage-Led Regeneration

Volume 664: debated on Thursday 3 October 2019

There is overwhelming evidence from academics and respected organisations such as Historic England that heritage-led regeneration provides substantial economic and social benefits. Last month, we were delighted to announce a £95 million investment in high street heritage action zones, which will support ambitious projects to revive our historic high streets, thereby boosting local economies and quality of life throughout the country. I congratulate my hon. Friend on his constituency’s successful bid for £1.9 million from the scheme to revitalise Gloucester’s cathedral quarter.

The Government have done wonders for heritage regeneration, and I am grateful for the Minister’s confirmation of the successful bid by Gloucester’s cathedral quarter to the heritage action-zone fund, which will enable the medieval Fleece hotel to be regenerated after two decades of sitting shut. My hon. Friend knows that culture is also important for inspiring young people to stay and work in small cities. Will she consider setting up a small pot for the 15 unsuccessful runners-up to the cultural development fund?

My hon. Friend is a tremendous campaigner for heritage funding in his constituency. In fact, since he has been MP for Gloucester, his constituency has secured more than £15 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and it has now secured close to £2 million for a heritage action zone. But clearly my hon. Friend wants more. He asked about the cultural development fund, which also supports the use of culture and heritage as a catalyst for regeneration and economic growth; the Government are monitoring the success of the fund and will in due course consider whether there will be future rounds of funding.

I do not know whether the Minister is aware, but we value heritage a great deal in Huddersfield. We have more listed buildings than Gloucester, Bath and York, and we are keen to have our fair share of the money for regeneration. Will she look into the role of some of the people high up in English Heritage who seem to want to stop any positive, forward-looking project if they do not like it?

I believe that the hon. Gentleman’s constituency was successful in securing some support from the heritage high streets action-zone scheme, so I congratulate his constituency on that. I look forward to seeing that funding make a positive impact in his area.