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Historic England Chief Executive joins our High Streets debate

Chief Executive of Historic England, Duncan Wilson, will be speaking at our May Future High Streets and City Centres discussions with among others, Chapman Taylor (working on the re-design of the market hall-anchored district of Coventry City Centre South) and the Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, Cllr Stephen Cowan.

The debate will look at the future for historic markets and upgrading retail post pandemic as well as preserving but re-inventing town hall space for communities.

Historic England is working on The Burges in Coventry and has been involved in the discussions around upgrading and re-modelling Hammersmith Town Hall. into a modern civic campus.

Hammersmith Town Hall, states Historic England, is 'a fine example of an inter-war town hall combining modern and classical elements, designed by a specialist in municipal design, it is a building of bold presence; the quality of materials, craftsmanship and detailing are of a high standard throughout', while inside there is a 'fine sequence of virtually unaltered public and civic spaces...the set of murals in the public entrance hall are splendid examples of the genre by notable C20 artists.'

The Burges area forms a key element of Coventry's surviving historic townscape and includes three streets: The Burges, Palmer Lane and Hales Street, all of which lie within the Lady Herbert's Garden Conservation Area. Buildings in the area range in date from medieval times through to the 19th century and over time has seen changes from architects and city planners in the 1930's and the devastation of the Coventry Blitz. Lack of investment in recent times has seen the area decline.

In February, Historic England launched a podcast series and accompanying ebook called 'High Street Tales' - the first outcome of a four-year-long national Cultural Programme with Arts Council England.

The £7.4 million Cultural Programme is part of the £95 million 'High Streets Heritage Action Zones initiative which is currently working across 68 English high streets. The initiative is funded with money from organisations, including £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's Heritage High Street Fund.

The Cultural Programme features new digital and physical artworks inspired by our nation's high streets. It aims to make our high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time. Commissioned artists will work with local communities on high streets across England to co-produce artworks that respond to, document and reflect the changing high street.


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