Photo of shoppers
New George Street, Plymouth, Devon. © Historic England DP086749
New George Street, Plymouth, Devon. © Historic England DP086749

2010 – Economic Impact of the Historic Environment

In 2010, Heritage Counts explored the economic impact of investment in the historic environment. Two research projects were commissioned for the report, one on the economic impact of regeneration and the other on the economic impact of heritage attractions. ‘Heritage Counts 2010’ presents a summary of both reports and the regional ‘Heritage Counts 2010’ reports highlight key findings in each region.

Scroll down for more information on these projects.

Key findings from Heritage Counts include

  • £1 of investment in the historic environment generates £1.6 of additional economic activity over a ten year period
  • Investment in the historic environment attracts businesses, one in four businesses’ agree that the historic environment is an important factor in deciding where to locate, the same as for road access
  • Investing in the historic environment brings more visitors to local areas and encourages them to spend more, approximately one in five visitors to areas which have had historic environment investment spend more in the local area than before, and one in four businesses has seen the number of customers increase
  • Historic environment attractions generates local wealth. Half of all jobs created by historic environment attractions are in local businesses

The impact of historic environment regeneration

Research for 'Heritage Counts 2010' used primary research to assess the economic impact of a number of historic environment-led regeneration projects.

The projects assessed were Regent Quarter Kings Cross, Sheffield Cultural Industries Quarter, Alysham Historic Environment Regeneration Scheme (HERS) – East of England, Staircase House and Covered Market Stockport and Stourport Canal. Secondary data was also used to assess the economic impact at Albert Dock Liverpool, Cromford Mill Derbyshire, Curson Lodge Ipswich, East Lindsey HERS Lincolnshire, Fort Dunlop Birmingham, Gloucester Quays and West Auckland Partnership Scheme for Conservation Areas (PSCA).

The research concluded that by investing in the historic environment places can increase their economic resilience by attracting visitors, shoppers and businesses all attracted by the historic environment.

Evidence from the case studies found that £1 of public sector investment created £1.6 of additional economic activity over a ten year period, on a par with other public sector investment such as in the public realm. It also found evidence of social benefits, with 90% of respondents in the case study areas agreeing that the project had raised their pride in the local area and 93% that it had increased their sense of place. In some case study areas, visitors also stated that they felt safer in the local area (for example in Sheffield the percentage that felt safe rose from 73% before the project to 98% after).

For more information please see the 'Impact of Historic Environment Regeneration' report on this page.

The impact of heritage attractions

Research for 'Heritage Counts 2010' examined the impact of investment in heritage attractions on the wider economy. It found that investment in 72 heritage attractions by English Heritage, Heritage Lottery Fund (now National Lottery Heritage Fund) and National Trust had created £197 million in additional visitor spend, and that on average half of all employment generated by heritage attractions are in the wider economy.

It also provided specific economic impact data from investment at five English Heritage and National Trust visitor sites – Anglesey Abbey, Dover Castle, Down House, Kenilworth Castle and Tyntesfield House. £23.4 million of investment was responsible for 329 jobs annually and contributed £9.8 million to regional Gross Value Added annually.

For more information on this project please see the 'Impact of Historic Visitor Attractions' report.

Heritage Counts