Young people are encouraged to have a go at shaping the future of Wisbech
- Credit: Archant
The technology department at the College of West Anglia’s Wisbech campus has been showing its support to a local Heritage Lottery Fund application by setting up a have-a-go construction session.
As a key partner in the Wisbech High Street Project, the college sent construction lecturers along to the event held in the market place.
The consultation was set up to showcase plans to the local community for the redevelopment of Cook’s butchers and the restoration of the wider High Street.
The construction team created a space for people to have a go at laying decorative paving and encouraged people to help create a giant stencil image, produced using the logos of High Street businesses, both current and from days gone by.
Alan Seeley, programme manager for Technology at CWA , said: “It was great to see some of the town’s youngsters getting involved with the activities. We need more young people getting into the construction industry, it’s a very rewarding and worthwhile career, especially now it is on the up again. “It will be marvellous if in the coming months we have some of our apprentices working on the town’s historic buildings, and helping to get them back to productive use.”
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Councillor David Oliver, Fenland District Council’s Cabinet member responsible for heritage, said: “We had a steady flow of people and the various displays provoked a lot of comment, particularly the idea of a tower and viewing platform.
“The block paving and stencilling activities laid on by the College of West Anglia were very useful in terms of engaging families and young people.”
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The Wisbech High Street Project is being led by Fenland District Council and the Wisbech Society in an attempt to make the town centre more vibrant, by breathing life into buildings in need of some tender loving care.
The project has already received the initial support needed to continue with the application process and is now nearing the end of the lengthy second round bid process to secure the £1.9m funding for the High Street.
If approved, this will see repairs made to ‘vulnerable’ and ‘at risk’ structures which have been identified as being particularly in need of restoration. Many of these buildings have suffered as a result of sitting vacant for many years.
Funding for this project will come from the Townscape Heritage programme, which is a funding pot managed by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Wisbech’s High Street is a vital part of this Georgian market town - linking the Brink to the Market Place - its restoration would benefit the look and the feel of the town, as well as having a knock on effect in other areas; attracting more visitors and consequently benefitting local businesses in the process.
If funding is secured, it is hoped that the project will also benefit local people with opportunities for the community to get involved and make the project their own, as well as potentially bringing apprenticeship opportunities to young people looking for employment.