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Wirral to press for special heritage funding to restore historic buildings
WIRRAL is now in a position to press for special funding to restore its historic buildings following completion of a heritage strategy.
The strategy is a key element in attracting English Heritage and National Lottery funding for renovation work.
Its absence was recognised as a stumbling block in the bid to secure lottery cash to help maintain the fabric of some of Wirral’s important ancient buildings.
The peninsula’s heritage champion Cllr Jerry Williams said: “The big issue with heritage is that we haven’t been getting enough funding.
“This is why the council has been passionate about getting its heritage strategy together as a precursor for possible funding applications.
“So much work has been put in through the Heritage Association – an umbrella organisation for 70-odd groups in Wirral – and Wirral Council to make sure we fulfil the criteria needed to put in for funding.
“We now have that criteria in place and we hope we will be in the front line for a lot of funding, bearing in mind the extensive heritage we have.”
He added: “Wirral has had a very poor deal from lottery funding. The district is not getting a fair amount of funding in relation to its large proportion of massively important buildings.”
Conservation overlords English Heritage has expanded its “Building at Risk” register to include lesser-known buildings and complexes across Merseyside that need help.
The list includes Flaybrick Memorial Gardens in Bidston. Conservationists have their own list of candidates for restoration work including Fort Perch Rock at New Brighton, the clock tower at Bebington Civic Centre, Birkenhead town hall and the medieval hall in Little Storeton Village.
Harry Owen-John, EH North West planning and conservation director, said: “Grade II buildings are the bulk of our heritage treasury. When one of them is lost it’s as if someone has rubbed out a bit of the past.
“We need help and are prepared to fund nine to 15 pilot surveys around the country with local authorities, national parks, heritage and community groups as partners.
“The results will help all parties involved – including the Heritage Lottery Fund and other grant-givers to get rescues under way where nothing has happened for years.”
Councillor Williams said: “We are confident that we are now in a position to move forward in difficult circumstances – Wirral Council is about to lose a third of its funding.
“The council is looking at this as a matter of high priority .Things need to be done quickly if we are to secure funding from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.”