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Breathe New Life Into an Old Place - Make It a Heritage Action Zone

Through our new Heritage Action Zones initiative, we will unleash the power in England's historic environment to create economic growth and improve quality of life in villages, towns and cities.

Working with local people and partners including local authorities, Historic England will help to breathe new life into old places that are rich in heritage and full of promise - unlocking their potential and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors. We will do this with joint-working, grant funding and sharing our skills.

Historic buildings that have deteriorated through decades of neglect will be restored and put back into use; conservation areas improved to kick-start regeneration and renewal; and unsung places will be recognised and celebrated for their unique character and heritage, helping instil a sense of local pride wherever there's a Heritage Action Zone.

The first ten Heritage Action Zones are in:

Apply to become a Heritage Action Zone

Historic England plans to award Heritage Action Zone status to more villages, towns and cities over the next two years. Applications will open again in May 2017.

We will update this web page when applications are open and will include a mention in our newsletter.

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What makes a Heritage Action Zone?

Whether you're interested in regenerating a wider area such as a place in decline, a whole town, or a conservation area, the Heritage Action Zone approach will harness Historic England's expertise and resources to help.

To be considered for Heritage Action Zone status an area needs to be of significant historic interest, and able to contribute to the social, economic and environmental needs of a place.

What Historic England can offer

These are some of the skills and resources we can provide:

  • Research into historic sites or buildings
  • Help with engaging local communities
  • Grant aid - from Repair Grants to Capacity Building Grants
  • Advice on repairing and finding new uses for a building
  • Advice on planning policy
  • Condition surveys
  • Historic Area Assessments and characterisation reports
  • Help with updating entries on the National Heritage List for England
  • Training in how to assess the significance of historic places
  • Help with identifying places that could be listed
  • Networks and contacts that may bring other key players to the table

Suitability for Heritage Action Zone status

To apply for Heritage Action Zone status you will need to meet these criteria:

  • Should be delivered through a partnership, this could consist of public, private and third sector organisations
  • Should include at least one local authority partner
  • Should deliver opportunities for sustainable long term growth in historic places
  • Must be based around local heritage assets, either designated or undesignated
  • As a project, should be capable of delivery within a 3-5 year time frame

Our track record

We have a great deal of experience of working on successful heritage-related regeneration projects, including:

For general enquiries about the Heritage Action Zone initiative, please contact us at

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Heritage Action Zone