The first phase of a project to help restore important buildings in one of South Lakeland’s most historic villages is now under way.
Some properties in Burton-in-Kendal are showing signs of deterioration including physical decay and loss of historical detail.
South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) alerted Historic England to the early warning signs and the Burton-in-Kendal Conservation Area has since been included in the National Heritage at Risk Register.
Conservation-accredited architects Crosby Granger have now been commissioned to look more closely at those buildings most at risk, identify what needs to be done and calculate accurate costings as part of three-year programme.
SLDC, Historic England and Burton-in-Kendal Parish Council are now working in close partnership to help fund enhancement and restoration work.
Councillor Chris Hogg, SLDC’s Portfolio Holder for Culture and Leisure said: “The first important step in the project development stage is to undertake a detailed study which will give us a very clear picture of what has happened to some of the important and prominent buildings in the village and establish exactly what needs to be done to help put it right.
“I am delighted that local architects with a track record of conservation expertise have been commissioned to do this preparatory work which will lead the way to halting the early signs of decline and ensure Burton-in-Kendal’s historic environment is improved and cherished for generations to come.”
SLDC is contributing £35,000 a year for the next three years to help residents fund their repair and restoration projects.
As well as the contributions from individual property owners, the local parish council will give £5,000 a year for the next three years to help improve the appearance of The Square in the village and Historic England is expected to confirm a grant of £137,000.
SLDC is also giving the parish council an additional grant of £17,000 to be spent in the conservation area.
A spokesman for Burton-in-Kendal Parish Council said: “We are pleased to be an active partner in this scheme. We hope that it will improve our important historic environment for future generations, encourage and assist residents to take part in restoration works and help us understand the importance of living in a village with such an important historic and distinct character.’
Monitoring over a five to six year period recorded ongoing physical decay, an increase in vacant buildings, the loss of architectural fabric in a key group of buildings and deterioration in the condition of the public realm.
It is thought around eight properties in the village have been identified as being in specific need of attention.
Historic England says it is delighted to be part-funding a first phase of project development. A spokesperson said: “Over the next few months a team of consultants will be seen working closely with the parish, district and county council, building owners and other partners, gathering information and setting out a clear three-year vision and investment plan for Burton’s conservation area.
“Working together we are confident that Historic England’s investment will also foster and complement proposed new housing developments, helping to grow Burton village sustainably and in a way that enhances its distinctive character and appearance.”
Crosby Granger Architects, a conservation accredited firm from Kendal, say they are proud to be associated with the project.
A spokesman said: “We are bringing our expertise, experience in conservation and local knowledge to the project. We are excited by the opportunity to raise awareness of the unique architectural significance of Burton-in-Kendal and to take positive steps towards its enhancement. Collaborating with the highways department we will be remodelling the square, repairing paving and cobbling, improving it visually and addressing its flood resilience.”
Later in the project a village design guide will be developed, giving guidance to cover changes to existing heritage as well as the potential design of any new development within or adjacent to the conservation area.
Community heritage advice and workshops will be provided by the campaign group Cumbria Action for Sustainability.