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Launceston Townscape Heritage Initiative

Launceston has a valued historic environment legacy recognised by the prominent Norman castle and its high concentration of Listed Buildings.  The Towns historic Buildings continue to survive but many were suffering through a lack of maintenance.  Within the core of the town many independent businesses were not able to financially accommodate major repairs to their properties and as such historic fabric had been at risk.

North Cornwall District Council worked closely with the Town Forum preparing a successful bid to secure grant funding for a THI in the town.  The grant fund was made possible with financial support from The Heritage Lottery Fund,  ERDF, North Cornwall District Council, Launceston Town Council and The South West RDA.  Cornwall Council supported the scheme via the Highways Fund.

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The Launceston Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) administered by North Cornwall District Council commenced in November 2006 with a common grant fund totalling £1,209,639.

The Launceston THI strategy had four key themes, to address these problems, which were:

  1. Repair, maintenance and enhancement of run-down historic buildings to conserve the ‘product’.
  2. Bringing vacant floor space back into use and thereby increasing activity levels and sustainability.
  3. Enhancement of the public realm to improve perception and accessibility.
  4. Better marketing of the town's outstanding historic character to increase visitor levels and spend.

   

The streetscape of Launceston has a rich legacy of fine granite paving which significantly contributes to the setting of this medieval town.  The prominence of motor vehicles in the town square was causing conflict with pedestrians and as such it was realised that an opportunity to pedestrianise part of the town centre would provide benefits to the town. The project team worked closely with the former Cornwall Council Highways and Design team to realise this, with the pedestrian landscaping of the square including specially designed benches which were crafted and donated by local businesses. The granite planters were provided by sponsors of Launceston in Bloom and the design was adapted to incorporate them. An inscribed stone was designed and provided by the Launceston History Society to record the execution of Cuthbert Mayne - this was also incorporated into the design.

Over the course of the scheme there were two heritage training events held at the Castle which were organised by the THI in conjunction with English Heritage. It proved to be very successful indeed. Experts in thatch, cob, lime, willow and hazel work were recruited and the THI team gave demonstrations of wattle and daub work. There was also an Access seminar in which guest speakers including a specialist Disabled Access Auditor and Conservation Officer advised in issues relating to Listed Buildings, suggesting how access problems could be overcome with sensitive adaptations.

By the conclusion of the Launceston THI in September 2009 the grant scheme supported 7 buildings being repaired, bringing 597 sq m of vacant or underused floor space into use.  It also secured/created 15 jobs.