Find out about what projects have been identified and developed for the North Walsham Heritage Action Zone (HAZ)

High streets lie at the heart of communities but are under increasing pressure, which has been further compounded COVID-19 pandemic. This scheme will celebrate and enhance North Walsham’s unique historic character and rich heritage, making it a more attractive and vibrant place for people to live, work and enjoy leisure time; contributing to the town’s long-term economic, social and environmental viability. The four-year programme of works includes improvements to public spaces and passageways and repair and restoration of heritage buildings.

At the heart of the programme is the aim to engage and involve the thriving local community in shaping the future of the town.

Overview of the projects

Working in partnership with local community groups and organisations and incorporating feedback from early community engagement, the following projects were identified and developed to secure funding for the North Walsham High Street Heritage Action Zone programme:

Community consultation and engagement workshops 

Giving local communities a key role in deciding what sort of place they want their historic town centre to be and a real voice in its development and delivery. View the Statement of Community Engagement document.

Building improvement scheme

This scheme will offer grants to support the repair and restoration of heritage buildings and architectural assets, seeking to support new businesses and bringing unused floor space back into use. There will also be an element of funding for shop front improvements.  The detail of the scheme has not been defined yet but a requirement of the Historic England High Street Heritage Action Zone is that private property owners would be required to support a proportion of match funding.

Building repair and restoration of The Cedars (also known as the former council offices)

This project will restore a key heritage site and gateway building to the town market place. The objective of the restoration work is to repair the Grade II Listed Building, preventing further deterioration and enabling its adaptation to bring it back into use. 

Improvements to the Market Place

Improvements will aim to recreate a safe and inclusive high street, which reflects and enhances the town centre’s origins as a market and meeting place. The improved public realm in the market place will attract both new businesses and users to the town, increasing footfall and dwell time. It will also help regenerate the town’s weekly and monthly markets.

Town centre re-stitching - improvements to lokes and gateways

Many of the key access passageways and lokes leading into the town centre are dark and uninviting. This element of the programme will enhance the public realm spaces, re-stitching the town’s historic core and restoring key gateways across the town centre. These include:

  • Bank Loke
  • Black Swan Loke
  • Bier Loke (Vicarage Street gateway)
  • Church Approach (Market Street, between the Shambles and the Hop Inn)

Heritage surveys and skills workshops

Heritage research and survey work will be conducted to better understand the unique heritage of the town. One such project already identified is the mystery of the hidden network of cellars and tunnels beneath the town centres buildings and market place. The project also aims to create learning and skills opportunities linked with the unique stories, artefacts and buildings in this historic town centre. This could include a range of skills from researching and conservation management, traditional conservation and restoration skills to marketing and promotion and technology and social media training.

Interpretation and signage

Clear wayfinding signage will help achieve the wider objectives of re-stitching the Heritage Action Zone area into a cohesive and easily navigable town centre. A range of interpretation features will also be created, from signage to interactive heritage or architectural tours. The interpretation element will share the town’s heritage, further embedding civic pride and reinforcing its historic character.