Cumbria County Council has been given the go ahead by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to complete the development of their plans to bring the heritage improvements to Main Street. This HLF first-round pass consists initially of £ 7,000 of development funding which means Cumbria County Council in conjunction with Allerdale Borough Council and Cockermouth Town Council can progress to the second-round of the HLF application process, when an application can be made for over £ 950,000 to contribute to the expected total project cost of £ 2.2m.
The development phase will involve firming up designs for the Heritage Hubs, Wordsworth Rose Roundabout as well as public interpretation of the biographies of William and Dorothy. An activity plan will set out in detail how the various Heritage public engagement events and activities will be managed and delivered.
The Heritage Hubs will include pedestrian fingerpost signing, seats, litter bins and shelters at two of the hubs. The designs include heritage interpretation panels as well as display cabinets forming part of the 'Museum in the Street' concept. The designs for the Heritage Hubs, as with the rest of the scheme, have been developed from an intensive community engagement process, which started with an initial drop in event showing scheme concepts in June 2011. Comments from this three day event enabled the designs to be developed further, as exhibited in a second public drop in event in November 2011. Since then consultation has taken place with traders and other stakeholders to discuss details and to ensure a design which is fit for purpose and in keeping with the special character of the street.
Design work is also proceeding well with the highway reconstruction design which is the backbone to the overall project and which is a legacy of the damage caused by the 2009 floods. These essential works include full reconstruction of the carriageway and footways, renewing the carriageway drainage system and tree conservation measures. Upgrades to lighting, planting beds and street furniture are also planned. The funding for this carriageway reconstruction / improvement scheme is from separate sources, including the Department for Transport, and is not dependant on the HLF bid outcome.
As part of the highway design Cumbria County Council are also planning to carry out further ground investigation works shortly on Main Street. Three trial pits are planned to be dug in the carriageway week commencing 23 April. This work is to ascertain the nature of ground conditions to complement the findings from a recent geotechnical study, but also to allow soil samples around the trees to be taken, which will enable proper treatment to be designed to conserve the trees.
Eric Nicholson, county councillor for Cockermouth East said: "The funding from Heritage Lottery Fund is more good news for the project and will allow us to draw up firm proposals. Alongside the additional highways design work the future looks bright for Cockermouth."
Alan Kennon, county councillor for Cockermouth West said: "The development funding for Main Street marks another step in the right direction for this exciting project. This scheme delivers the things that are needed to bring this investment into the town."
Margaret Jackson, Chair of the Steering Group for the Cockermouth Main Street Improvement Scheme said: "The success in acquiring this initial HLF development funding will allow us the opportunity to properly develop a comprehensive scheme, which when necessary work to repair the carriageway, footways and drainage takes place, also enhances the street for the future development and prosperity of the town."
Media enquiries to communications adviser Barry Alcock on 01228 226447.