There continues to be a lot of work going on behind the scenes on the High Street and efforts are continuing to encourage property owners to get involved with the project. The challenge continues to be convincing owners, many of whom are not local to invest in their properties, given the uncertain future of all High Streets and, in some cases, their unawareness of the conditions of their buildings. All owners and long-term tenants of High Street properties have been contacted advising them of their eligibility to apply for a grant of up to 65 per cent towards improvements under the scheme.
Over the last 12 months extensive soil investigations, also called geotechnical investigations, have been carried out at The Gap at No 24 High Street, both in the basement of the site and in the High Street pavement, which have taken longer than originally expected. These investigations determine the soil conditions prior to construction and are a vital and necessary part of the development process. Engineers will use the data to determine the depth and type of foundation required and necessary construction elements to ensure building stability. The location of the site between two properties, one of which is listed, also means that careful consideration needs to be made regarding the appropriate methods of construction to avoid vibration. Discussions are also on-going with neighbours as part of Party Wall negotiations. Project architects Dallas–Pierce–Quintero (DPQ) have also submitted a planning application to demolish a structure at the rear of the site, which is necessary to facilitate its redevelopment. The application will be decided in due course.
We’re also continuing to work closely with a local developer to redevelop 11-12 High Street for residential and commercial use. As it is part of the National Lottery Heritage funded project, conservation will be at the forefront of the redevelopment and original features and design of the façade will be replicated. We’re hopeful a planning application will be submitted shortly.
We have approved an application and funding for major works at No 13-17 and are now awaiting a start date from the owners.
There are also a number of other applications being submitted for improvement works to other properties and owners are collecting quotes and developing their applications.
Alongside the building improvement plans there have been a number of exciting activities delivered by the project – you can find out more about these and how to get involved in the Activities section of the website.