THE traditional Victorian and Edwardian character of Swadlincote town centre could soon be revealed, after the first phase of a restoration scheme was given the green light.
South Derbyshire District Council has received initial funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to put in a detailed bid for a larger three-year conservation project.
The boost of almost £9,000 shows that scheme bosses have faith in the authority’s plans for the area, bosses have claimed.
Conservation and heritage officer Philip Heath said: “This funding recognises the council’s long-standing commitment to restore and revive the Victorian and Edwardian character of the town, once known as the metropolis of the sanitary pipe trade.
“Other key products included glazed bricks, ornamental ridge tiles, moulded bricks and decorative chimney pots.”
Proposals for the £465,000 Swadlincote Heritage Opportunities Project (SHOP) include restoring missing historic features, such as windows, doors and shop fronts, distinctive architectural features – and even missing chimney stacks.
It is hoped that people in South Derbyshire will get involved with the proposals, to help them engage with the heritage of the area they live in. A programme of activities will be created detailing how people can become more involved, though that has not yet been finalised.
“We want people of all ages to be part of creating this lasting legacy for the future by conserving and celebrating the past and present,” Mr Heath added.
It comes following the extension of the town’s conservation area in 2001, and a series of grants from English Heritage and Derbyshire County Council, which enabled property owners to repair and restore their buildings.
High Street, West Street, Church Street and The Delph have already benefited from work on paving and buildings.
Vanessa Harber, head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said: “We look forward to receiving the authority’s plans for restoring properties in the town’s traditional and historic heart.”
The council faced stiff competition to get to the first stage of the heritage bid, and staff now have two years to develop a full proposal for the work.