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Waltham Forest Council welcomes initial Lottery support to revitalise St James Street

An ambitious project to revitalise Waltham Forest’s historic St James Street has received a boost by passing the initial stage of a funding programme run by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The project, which will see improvements to shop fronts and key historic buildings in the Walthamstow St James Conservation Area, have received initial support from the HLF and the Council has now been invited to submit detailed plans.

Development funding of £223,000 has also been awarded to help the Council progress its plans through to the second stage of the process, where a delivery grant can be applied for in 2015.

Under the plans, the St James Conservation Area will benefit from the repair and restoration of historic features, the removal of unnecessary signage and clutter, the installation of new shopfronts, and work to upper floors including cleaning and repair. This work will be supported by public realm improvements to the paving, lighting and signage.

There will also be a wide-ranging community and business support programme, including training for businesses in building conservation and maintenance, and raising local heritage awareness with oral history workshops and consultation events.

Council Leader, Chris Robbins, said: “Our residents said improving Waltham Forest’s high streets is a top priority, so we have invested £9million in enhancing them to create a better high street experience for everyone.

“If we are successful at the second stage, then the funding will enable us to ensure our area looks even better, while still keeping our borough’s unique character intact.

“We were also very honoured to hear we received the highest development allocation of all bids granted nationally – and it’s very special to hear that we were the only London borough to receive the award.

The Walthamstow St James Conservation Area is a historically important commercial area containing various examples of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century architecture developed by the local Victorian property owner, TC Warner.

“The richly-detailed Warner commercial properties located on St James Street and the High Street form the gateway to the Conservation Area. The mix of retail, café, office, residential uses and lively market stalls contributes to a bustling atmosphere on the High Street and our area’s special character,” Chris Robbins added.

Explaining the importance of the HLF support, the London Head of HLF Sue Bowers, said: “St James Street is a key part of Walthamstow’s most historic Conservation Area. It will benefit hugely from repairs and conservation work and we’re pleased to be investing £223,000 in this ambitious project with further money on the table once the Council’s application has been fully worked up. Local high streets can – and should – be at the heart of community life and we believe that restored, high-quality shop facades and historic features make a real difference to everyone who either lives or uses the area.”

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