The pier at Margate
Margate Pier, Kent © Historic England DP032181
Margate Pier, Kent © Historic England DP032181

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.

Upcoming Heritage Action Zones

  • Gosport
  • Swindon

Gosport and Swindon have been announced as new Heritage Action Zones expecting to begin delivery in Spring 2019. 

Future Heritage Action Zones

Since we launched the scheme in March 2017 there are now 18 Heritage Action Zones up and running in historic places across England. The majority of the Heritage Action Zones will run for five years in order to help create lasting change in communities.

Successful round 3 applicants, Gosport and Swindon, will begin in 2019. This will take us up to a total of 20 Heritage Action Zones. We will then take the important step of reviewing the Heritage Action Zone programme and our processes. We also need to ensure full synergy of the programme with our emerging Historic England place-making strategy. 

How to apply

Future application rounds will be advertised on this page.

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

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


Heritage Action Zone

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