Pictured: Maxine O’Mahony, Chief Executive at Breckland Council and Claudia Kenyatta, Director of Regions, Historic England discuss the Swaffham HAZ project currently being joint funded in the market town.

Representatives of leading national and local heritage organisations and the local district council recently met in Swaffham to see how the town’s High Street Heritage Action Zone is supporting the area and its businesses to thrive.

The visit, which was organised by Breckland Council, saw Claudia Kenyatta, Director of Regions from Historic England, and other Historic England staff meet with elected officials from Breckland Council and local heritage groups. Together, they toured the historic heart of the town and met with local businesses to discuss the positive impact recent grant funding has had in the area.

The group inspected buildings and businesses which had recently submitted successful grant applications to the historic Swaffham High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) to renovate shop fronts including Jewellery Unique, Mr Chips and Tutankhamun’s Café (joint application) and the Assembly Rooms. The HSHAZ grant scheme, supported in partnership between Historic England and Breckland Council, will help fund building repairs and the reinstatement of traditional features within the heritage zone area of Swaffham.  

The Swaffham Cultural Consortium shared their recent exciting findings and success with Carter 22 projects, including details about a community archaeological dig at Campingland in Swaffham, and an outline of their upcoming cultural programme in Swaffham for the next 12 months, which has been funded by Historic England. 

Cllr Paul Claussen, Deputy Leader at Breckland Council commented: “The building grant repairs scheme has seen us working closely with 3 building owners in town, which will greatly enhance and protect the historic surroundings of Swaffham town centre. All grant applications have had very positive comments and grant offer letters have now been issued to the building owners. We continue to work closely with a wide variety of partners including Historic England, Carter 22 and Urban Symbiotics to deliver physical interventions in the town centre, as well as events, celebrating the rich history in Swaffham.”

Claudia Kenyatta, Director of Regions, Historic England commented: “Thank you to Breckland Council and to everyone we met, for the warm welcome to Swaffham. It was wonderful to explore this historic town and learn about the plans to rejuvenate some of its characterful buildings. Bringing communities together is an important part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme, so I was delighted to hear about the Carter 22 projects and the opportunities they give to local people, to learn about their story in a fun and engaging way. I’m looking forward to seeing how all these exciting projects progress.”