Projects in Bamburgh and Berwick have been awarded funding from a Government scheme which aims to preserve the UK’s coastal heritage.
The Coastal Revival fund made £3million available and today it was announced that £48,000 has been awarded to the Berwick Barracks Reawakening Project to explore the feasibility of revitalising the town’s historic Barracks as a Heritage Hub.
The bid was prepared jointly by the Berwick Archive and Museum Action Group (BAMAG) and Berwick Town Council.
“This is a tremendous vote of confidence in Berwick and in the tourism potential we were able to demonstrate,” said BAMAG chairman Sir Philip Mawer.
“The fund was three times oversubscribed, with 222 bids from all round the country, seeking a total of £9million. The success of our bid shows the strength of our proposal.”
Mayor of Berwick Hazel Bettison said: “This is a great example of what we can achieve through working in partnership with local people and groups.
“Berwick is the country’s only 100 per cent walled town, we have an extraordinary history and a lot for visitors to see – we should be presenting it as excitingly as we can.”
BAMAG plans to create a landmark Heritage Hub, preferably located in Berwick’s 18th-century Barracks. This would be a major tourist attraction, showcasing the extraordinary heritage of Berwick, north Northumberland and the Eastern Borders and driving the area’s development as a year-round tourist destination.
The plan has strong backing from English Heritage, which manages the Barracks site; it recently demonstrated its support by nominating a senior manager to help develop the project.
Also successful was the Accessing Aidan project in Bamburgh, which was awarded £26,000 to reopen and revive the crypt at St Aidan’s Church as an ossuary and visitor centre.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick, said: “I am so pleased that two local projects have been successful. This is such good news for Berwick and Bamburgh and is a key investment for future tourism and cultural development in our coastal towns.
“I am also pleased to discover the Government has committed a further £1million for bids in 2016/17 so more local projects will have the opportunity bid for funding.”