THE RESTORATION of Stratford’s historic Old Toll House has moved a step closer.
Stratford Historic Buildings Trust (SHBT) is celebrating after securing two major grants to help restore and refurbish the 200 year-old building on Clopton Bridge.
Historic England has awarded a development grant of £15,570 and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) a first round Heritage Enterprise grant of £10,500 towards the project.
The two awards will enable SHBT to draw up detailed plans for the project.
And if both approve the plans, SHBT will then be in a position to secure two further grants totalling £370,000 to undertake the actual restoration and refurbishment, starting work in 2016.
The Old Toll House was built in 1814. With its crenelated roofline and gothic windows it is a familiar local landmark and an important Grade I listed building.
But over the last 30 years it has fallen into serious disrepair and has been included on Historic England’s Register of Buildings at Risk.
The restoration project will preserve the historic fabric of the building and provide it with a new use as office space at ground floor and mezzanine level.
The project will also include the creation of a free community exhibition about the history of the building in the basement area.
Roger Davis, SHBT trustee, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England grants are fantastic news and are a huge vote of confidence for the project. Although we still have a way to go, the two awards are really important as they will enable us to meaningfully start work on rescuing the building.”
HLF’s Heritage Enterprise programme is designed to help when the cost of repairing an historic building is so high restoration is not commercially viable.
Reyahn King, Head of HLF West Midlands, said: “This project will breathe new life into this distinctive part of Stratford’s heritage.
“Investment in Heritage Enterprise projects goes well beyond bricks and mortar; it enables financially challenging historic buildings like the Old Toll House to become an important part of the economic health of communities by nurturing business and creating jobs. We look forward to seeing the plans develop.”
Sarah Lewis, Principal Adviser, Heritage at Risk Team, Historic England welcomed news of the grants.
She said: “Historic England is really pleased to support Stratford Historic Building Trust’s efforts to conserve the Old Toll House and bring it back into beneficial use. This important building is one of our top ten Heritage at Risk priorities in the West Midlands and we are delighted to be part of this project.”
The project has also secured grants from the Architectural Heritage Fund, The Pilgrim Trust and a number of other trusts and charities.