Eden, Cumbria, The Lake District – A natural choice for business

Lady Anne Clifford helps celebrate Appleby’s new Heritage Action Zone

20 March 2017

A character from Appleby’s history, famous for helping to rebuild the area’s castles – Lady Anne Clifford, joined the celebrations as the conservation area in Appleby has been chosen as one of the first Heritage Action Zones (HAZ) - the only one in North West of England. Ten villages, towns and cities across England have been selected for their historical significance and promise by Historic England.

The HAZ is a five year project based on a partnership between Historic England, Eden District Council and Appleby Town Council, who are working together with the local community to use the power of Appleby’s heritage to boost the local economy. The overall investment over five years is estimated to be £1,650,000, with Historic England contributing £750,000.

In 2015/16 Appleby was devastated by the major winter floods. People’s homes and businesses and the local economy were badly affected. A number of buildings were damaged and landslides closed the Settle to Carlisle railway line northwards for over a year. 

Since the flooding, Appleby has been designated a Conservation Area at Risk and several buildings feature on the Heritage at Risk Register. Tourism is one of the town’s major industries, but Appleby had suffered from a decline in visitor numbers in recent years.

Some of the aims of the Appleby HAZ are: 

•    Improving shop fronts improved in the conservation area
•    Repairing and restoring a number of listed or scheduled buildings At Risk in the conservation area 
•    Consideration and contribution towards a flood resilience plan
•    Assisting the community to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for Appleby
•    Increasing visitor numbers to Appleby 
•    New jobs created by reducing the number of vacant shops 
•    Exploring opportunities for tourism with the owners of Appleby Castle and use of the Castle grounds 
•    Enhanced tourist information resources in the Tourist Information Centre and around the town 
•    A conservation area appraisal and management plan is produced for Appleby conservation area
Appleby Town Council are a key partner in the delivery of this project with the Council’s Moot Hall and Tourist Information Centre to benefit from restoration and new tourism promotional materials. Appleby’s Mayor, Councillor John Pape said: “.”

Reviving Appleby’s Tourism economy is key to the town’s economic success. This is a major focus of the Appleby HAZ, equally as important is engaging the local community in helping to restore the town’s conservation area and public realm for future generations to enjoy. Part of the community engagement work includes heritage open days and projects with local schools.

Eden District Council’s Economic Development Portfolio Holder, Councillor Mike Slee, said: “I would like to congratulate everyone who has worked so hard to bring this project together. It has the potential to deliver major economic and community benefits to Appleby. The District Council is contributing in the region of £180,000 towards realising the objectives of the HAZ.  

“The District Council, with the support of Heritage England are going to recruit a Programme Officer for the Appleby HAZ; this person will be responsible for the project’s day to day delivery. Eden District Council will also be appointing a Conservation Officer to join our Planning Services Team. This appointment will help guide the restoration of Appleby’s conservation area and the management of the 23 other designated conservation areas within Eden District.”

For more information about the Appleby HAZ visit www.investineden.co.uk or telephone: 01768 817817 or email: econ.dev@eden.gov.uk