POOLE High Street is set to benefit from a £625,000 cash injection, rising to £1.2m, as part of an initiative to 'unlock the potential' of historic buildings.

The initial grant is coming from Historic England, with BCP Council agreeing to match-fund the amount over the next four years.

Regeneration will focus on restoring external features of historic buildings around Poole Museum, Old Orchard, Carter's/Weston's Lanes and the Lagland Street junction at Beach Hurst House.

BCP Council member for culture and regeneration, Cllr Mark Howell, said: "This is great news for the people of Poole and anyone else who values its history and potential.

“Like high streets across the country, Poole High Street has experienced reduced footfall over recent years, a situation worsened by the Covid-19 crisis.

"This fantastic project will complement our wider plans for regenerating the town centre, such as our application to the Future High Streets Fund, and allow us to celebrate Poole’s rich heritage while supporting an innovative, successful economy and further developing the town into a great place to live, learn, work and visit."

The government funding is part of a £95m High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme.

This is being delivered by local authorities in partnership with Historic England in order to transform dilapidated buildings into new homes, shops and work or community spaces, and to fuel economic, social and cultural recovery following the impact of Covid-19.

As part of the Poole project, a complementary cultural programme of events and creative installations will also be introduced to tell the story of the high street and of those families, businesses and characters who’ve been part of its story.

Rebecca Barrett, regional director at Historic England in the south west, said: "Every high street in England has a distinctive history that can be harnessed to help it achieve a prosperous future.

"Investing in heritage delivers good results for people – it means looking after and celebrating the places at the heart of our communities, and the buildings and public spaces which define their character.

"This investment will unlock the potential of these precious high streets and help them thrive again.”