With the Wick, Pulteneytown Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) drawing to an end, The Highland Council’s Planning , Environment and Development Committee has awarded two grants and agreed to submit a third to Historic Scotland for approval, worth a total of £486,585.
The Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), funded by Historic Scotland and the Highland Council, was launched in 2007 to regenerate the Pulteneytown Conservation Area in Wick through the reuse and repair of its historic buildings.
Since CARS was set up grants have been available for works to properties situated within the Pulteneytown Conservation Area which retain and enhance the character of the area through the use of traditional materials and methods.
At Wednesday’s PED Committee, Members approved £369,940 of funding from the Pultneytown CARS to the Highland Housing Alliance towards a project to stabilise properties at the Harbour Quay site. A further grant of £115K will now go to Historic Scotland for approval for work to a council owned property at 14 Telford Street which the Highland Housing Alliance will manage as part of the Harbour Quay project. £1,590 was also awarded to the owner of a B listed building in the heart of the conservation area to cover 50% of the cost to replace front and back doors with timber panelled doors.
When it was launched in 2007 the aim of the CARS was to transform derelict sites into residential properties and bring new life into Pulteneytown’s historic streets. As well as CARS money, other funding has come from the Scottish Government’s Vacant and Derelict Land Fund as well as income from the sale of new properties.
Councillor Ian Ross, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Planning, Environment and Development Committee said: “This last significant amount of grant funding added to money already received represents a huge investment of resources put into Wick over the last 5 years. By using the funds to restore an important historical area of Wick we are not only maintaining its distinct identity and making improvements for the people who live, shop and work there but the CARS has also provided a welcome boost to the local construction industry and has supported new tourism opportunities, linked with Wick Harbour.”
Over the five year scheme, which ends in March 2012, almost £200,000 of CARS funding has been distributed through 21 small grants for individual property owners. Four large grants for projects with a public benefit have attracted nearly £1 million in CARS funding. This CARS spend has attracted just under £2 million of further investment in the built heritage of Pulteneytown from the private and public sectors during the course of the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme. The projects have ranged in scope, and include the provision of affordable housing, the conversion of a former cooperage, and repair works to the A-listed Wick Heritage Museum. Other improvements in the Pulteneytown area have also taken place recently with a new 70 berth marina in Wick Harbour which brought in funding from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Crown Estate.
In addition training in traditional building skills, such as lime pointing and sash and case window repair, has been provided and the CARS scheme also contributed to the production of leaflets which illustrate an architectural walk through the Thomas Telford designed conservation area.