HISTORIC high streets across the region are sharing government funding of around £3million to help them regenerate and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The £95m government-funded High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme, which is delivered by Historic England, will be shared between 68 high streets nationally.

Northallerton, North Shields and Middlesbrough town centres are among those being allocated a share of the cash.

The lead partners for the schemes are working with Historic England to transform and restore disused and dilapidated buildings into new homes, shops, work places and community spaces, restoring local historic character and improving public areas.

The Northern Echo:

The Historic Quarter in Middlesbrough Picture: Historic England

Northallerton is among nine Yorkshire towns to receive funding and Hambleton District Council will use the £386,480 to investigate new uses for vacant buildings and give support to new businesses.

Council leader, Mark Robson, said: “This grant gives us a fantastic opportunity to celebrate and invest in Northallerton High Street, restoring landmark buildings, conserving historic thoroughfares, updating shopfronts and breathing life into the upper floors of our buildings.

“We have many handsome Georgian buildings, but the once vibrant appearance of the town is beginning to deteriorate.

“Vacant shops are becoming an increasingly familiar sight and the thoroughfares and historic passageways leading off the High Street are looking rundown.

“Despite its rich heritage, most visitors are unaware of the town’s historic importance and opportunities to capitalise on this are being lost.”

In Middlesbrough, a £985,880 grant will be used to rejuvenate the Historic Quarter.

The Northern Echo:

The Historic Quarter in Middlesbrough Picture: Historic England

This area was the commercial centre of the town’s manufacturing and trade boom in the second half of the 19th century.

Many of the Victorian buildings in the area are of architectural and historical significance with around half of them listed.

Yet, many have been empty for a long time and their poor appearance is making the area look tired and run down.

The Historic Quarter is on the main route from the railway station to the town centre and the aim is to reuse historic buildings for housing and businesses.

Charles Smith, Acting Regional Director for Historic England in the North East and Yorkshire, said: "Every high street in England has a distinctive history that can be harnessed to help it achieve a prosperous future.

"Investing in heritage delivers good results for people – it means looking after and celebrating the places at the heart of our communities, and the buildings and public spaces which define their character.

"This investment for our Historic High Streets Action Zone scheme in the North East will unlock the potential of these precious high streets in the region and help them thrive again."