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

Through our Heritage Action Zone initiative, we are working to 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 is helping 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 are doing this through 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.

Heritage Action Zones

The existing ten Heritage Action Zones which were announced in March 2017. They are located in: Appleby, Coventry, Elsecar, Hull, King's Lynn, Nottingham, Ramsgate, Sunderland, Sutton and Weston-super-Mare.

The second round of Heritage Action Zones has now been decided, They are located in: Bishop Auckland, Dewsbury Living Market Town, Greater Grimsby, North Lowestoft Heritage Quarter, Rochdale Town Centre, Stockton & Darlington Railway, Stoke-on-Trent Ceramic and Walworth, London.

It is anticipated that the successful Heritage Action Zones will begin delivery in Spring/Summer 2018. Find out more about the round two Heritage Action Zones.

If you have any questions about the Heritage Action Zone initiative, please contact us at

What can Historic England offer 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, a Heritage Action Zone can harness Historic England's expertise and resources to help.

These are some of the services we can provide:

  • Research into historic sites or buildings (e.g. to identify the significance of a place or find a technical solution to a problem)
  • Funding, including Repair Grants for listed buildings, scheduled monuments and registered parks and gardens, and Capacity Building Grants for wider area-based schemes
  • Advice on repairing and finding new uses for buildings
  • Advice on planning policy
  • Condition surveys of buildings and monuments
  • Historic Area Assessments to understand and explain the heritage interest of an area, and characterisation reports
  • Help with updating entries on the National Heritage List for England - the official register of protected historic buildings and sites (this can offer clarity about where change is possible)
  • Training in how to assess the significance of historic places
  • Help with identifying places that could be listed (this can help to inform and facilitate decisions on the future of an area)
  • Help with engaging local communities
  • Networks and contacts that may bring other key players to the table

Suitability for Heritage Action Zone status

Heritage Action Zones need to meet the following criteria:

  • The Heritage Action Zone should be delivered through a partnership, this could consist of public, private and third sector organisations
  • The Heritage Action Zone should include at least one local authority partner
  • The Heritage Action Zone should deliver opportunities for sustainable long term growth in historic places
  • The Heritage Action Zone must be based around local heritage assets, either designated or undesignated
  • The project should be capable of delivery within three to five years

The first ten Heritage Action Zones are in:

Our track record

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

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Heritage Action Zone

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