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Appleby named one of country's first Heritage Action Zones

Appleby's St Lawrence's Church Photo: Google Maps

Appleby has been named one of the country's first Heritage Action Zones in a bid to boost tourism by tapping into the town's history.

Historic England is the driving force behind this nationwide initiative, which is aimed at breathing new life into areas rich in uncelebrated heritage. The town joins Coventry, Elsecar, Hull, King's Lynn, Nottingham, Ramsgate, Sunderland, Sutton and Weston-super-Mare.

The five-year Appleby project is based on a partnership between Historic England, Eden District Council and Appleby-in-Westmorland 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 around £760,000.

Since 2015's Storm Desmond floods 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 Eden District Council say Appleby has suffered from a decline in visitor numbers in recent years.

It is hoped the Heritage Action Zone scheme will grow Appleby's tourism economy, and engage the local community through heritage open days and projects with local schools to help restore the town's conservation area and public realm for future generations to enjoy.

Flooding in Appleby in December 2015 Credit: ITV Border

"We are over the moon that Appleby has been chosen, the heritage of the town is key to attracting tourism and is therefore a vital factor in supporting the local economy.

"We are also pleased that the Moot Hall, which is owned by the Council, will be one of the projects that is included. A recent condition survey has revealed substantial works are required to repair the building which has been damaged by damp.

"The Appleby Town Council is keenly aware of its responsibility with regard to the II* listed building and welcomes the support of the Heritage Action Zone and Historic England in getting the necessary repairs completed."

– Cllr John Pape, Appleby Mayor

"Appleby is a fascinating historic market town and we're thrilled to be working in partnership with others who live and work in the town.

"Tourism is a key part of the local economy which has been under more pressure recently, particularly following the flooding of last winter. We're keen to work with the local community in understanding and interpreting the town's history.

"Enhancing Appleby's heritage will also lead to an improved 'visitor offer' providing a boost to tourism which, in turn, will help to grow the town's economy."

– Catherine Dewar, Historic England