The Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) in North Shields recently celebrated the successful revitalisation of its town centre and surrounding buildings on September 2. The completion of this project marked a significant milestone for the community, as it focused on the restoration of key heritage sites such as Northumberland Square and Howard Street, including the historic Exchange Building.
The HAZ initiative is a government-funded program that aims to support heritage-led regeneration in England. The program provides funding and expertise to empower local communities to take ownership of their historic places and create a sustainable future for them.
The project in North Shields started in 2019, and it aimed to harness the town's unique heritage assets to create an attractive destination for locals and visitors alike. The focus was on the restoration of core buildings and public spaces that play a crucial role in the town's history and identity.
One of the most significant achievements of the project was the revitalisation of Northumberland Square. The square is considered the heart of the town and had fallen into disrepair over the years. The restoration of the square included repaving and relandscaping to create a more welcoming and attractive public space. Also, new lighting and street furniture were installed, creating a safer and more comfortable environment for all.
Another key focus area of the project was Howard Street, which is home to several significant heritage buildings, including the Exchange Building. The restoration included repairing the building's façade, replacing the roof, and restoring the original features, bringing the building back to life as a vibrant hub for the community.
The HAZ project in North Shields is an excellent example of how heritage-led regeneration can have a tremendous impact on communities. By working with local stakeholders and experts, the project has created a unique and attractive destination that celebrates the town's heritage and reinforces its sense of identity.
The completion of the North Shields project marks the beginning of a sustainable future for the town. The revitalised public spaces and heritage buildings will attract visitors, create job opportunities, and increase local pride. The project has also provided a blueprint for other communities, demonstrating how heritage-led regeneration can help reverse economic decline and boost the vitality of a town's built environment.