What is a THI?
About Townscape Heritage Initiatives
The Heritage Lottery, Welsh Government, Cadw and Local Authorities have developed a good record of partnership working to support the regeneration of town centres through the implementation of several Townscape Heritage Initiatives (THI) in the country, as well as associated community engagement projects.
Since the formation of the National Lottery in 1994, the Heritage Lottery funding programme has been supporting the preservation, conservation and heritage of places throughout the UK.
More recently the Welsh Government Vibrant and Viable Places framework for Wales stipulates under its Prosperous Communities national outcomes: “a well-managed historic and natural environment contributing to the distinctiveness of Wales’ landscape and settlements with heritage and historic character conserved, valued and sustained.”
Townscape Heritage (Previously known as Townscape Heritage Initiative) is a funding programme which is initiated by Heritage Lottery to deliver improvements to the built historic environment. It is often made up of a range of funding partners to create a sizeable pot of money (a form of common fund) to deliver physical projects and to support community regeneration. THI schemes aim to deliver sustainable conservation in historic urban areas by raising the standard of repair where the market has failed to do so. They aim to halt and reverse the decline of historic townscapes by creating attractive, vibrant and interesting places where in the future people will want to live, work, visit and invest.
The national regeneration (now the Vibrant and Viable Framework), Heritage Lottery and CADW priorities have generally complimented one another, with good examples of work which has delivered on combined programme outcomes at a local level, usually managed by local partnerships, and in most cases have local authorities administering the ‘common’ fund.
As of September 2011, a total of 22 towns in Wales had successfully applied for THI funding, with a total of £27,205,900 either spent or allocated in the country. Many of these had moved on to a second phase of work. As administrators and delivery partners of the common fund, the local authority usually set-up a grant fund for individual property owners to develop projects on properties often within a defined conservation area. A key focus of regeneration efforts in Wales have been on supporting the traditional high street and town centres. This is also reflected in the VVP framework, which prioritises ‘town centres serving 21st Century towns’
It is acknowledged in the framework that town centres are ‘the heartbeat of our communities; they are where people meet where people shop and where people work.’
This is a vision shared with Heritage Lottery who has established the fund to ‘help to reverse the decline of our best-loved historic townscapes….. To create attractive, vibrant places that people want to live, work, visit and invest in’.
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