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Breathe New Life Into an Old Place - Make It a Heritage Action Zone

Through our Heritage Action Zone initiative, we are working to unleash the power in England's historic environment to create economic growth and improve quality of life in villages, towns and cities.

Working with local people and partners, including local authorities, Historic England is helping to breathe new life into old places that are rich in heritage and full of promise - unlocking their potential and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors. We are doing this through joint-working, grant funding and sharing our skills.

Historic buildings that have deteriorated through decades of neglect will be restored and put back into use; conservation areas improved to kick-start regeneration and renewal; and unsung places will be recognised and celebrated for their unique character and heritage, helping instil a sense of local pride wherever there's a Heritage Action Zone.

Future Heritage Action Zones

Since we launched the scheme in March 2017 there are now 18 Heritage Action Zones up and running in historic places across England. The majority of the Heritage Action Zones will run for five years in order to help create lasting change in communities.

We are committed to another round of Heritage Action Zones. However at this point we are taking the important step of reviewing the Heritage Action Zone programme and our processes. We also need to ensure full synergy of the programme with our emerging Historic England place-making strategy. And so whilst we do this, we will consider a more modest number of new Heritage Actions Zones for 2019/20 (Round 3).

Whether you're interested in regenerating a wider area such as a place in decline, a whole town, or a conservation area, a Heritage Action Zone can harness Historic England's expertise and resources to help.

To be considered for Heritage Action Zone status an area needs to be of significant historic interest, and able to contribute to the social, economic and environmental needs of a place.

If you are interested in submitting an initial proposal for a Heritage Action Zone, we ask that you to talk to your local Historic England team who can advise you on our regional priorities. We do not recommend that you submit an application before talking with us.

How to apply

Historic England is now open to applications from interested organisations. Please follow the steps below.

  1. Please read the explanatory notes and guidance before deciding whether to submit an Initial Proposal.
  2. Interested organisations are asked to contact their local Historic England office to discuss a potential project prior to submitting their Initial Proposal form.
  3. Please email your completed form to your local Historic England office. The email addresses are listed in the Initial Proposal form.

The deadline for Initial Proposals is 5pm, Wednesday 29 August 2018.

This Flow Chart shows the application process that will commence once the Initial Proposals have been received. You may also wish to view the Programme Illustration.

It is anticipated that the successful Heritage Action Zones will begin delivery in spring 2019.

If you have any questions about the Heritage Action Zone initiative, please contact us at

What can Historic England offer a Heritage Action Zone?

Whether you're interested in regenerating a wider area such as a place in decline, a whole town, or a conservation area, a Heritage Action Zone can harness Historic England's expertise and resources to help.

These are some of the services we can provide:

  • Research into historic sites or buildings (e.g. to identify the significance of a place or find a technical solution to a problem)
  • Funding, including Repair Grants for listed buildings, scheduled monuments and registered parks and gardens, and Capacity Building Grants for wider area-based schemes
  • Advice on repairing and finding new uses for buildings
  • Advice on planning policy
  • Condition surveys of buildings and monuments
  • Historic Area Assessments to understand and explain the heritage interest of an area, and characterisation reports
  • Help with updating entries on the National Heritage List for England - the official register of protected historic buildings and sites (this can offer clarity about where change is possible)
  • Training in how to assess the significance of historic places
  • Help with identifying places that could be listed (this can help to inform and facilitate decisions on the future of an area)
  • Help with engaging local communities
  • Networks and contacts that may bring other key players to the table

Suitability for Heritage Action Zone status

Heritage Action Zones need to meet the following criteria:

  • The Heritage Action Zone should be delivered through a partnership, this could consist of public, private and third sector organisations
  • The Heritage Action Zone should include at least one local authority partner
  • The Heritage Action Zone should deliver opportunities for sustainable long term growth in historic places
  • The Heritage Action Zone must be based around local heritage assets, either designated or undesignated
  • The project should be capable of delivery within three to five years

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