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The primary purpose of this National Lottery Heritage Fund supported Townscape Heritage project was to restore the historic nature of Skelton centre. Design proposals were produced during the project’s development phase to allow the submission of a Round Two bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund in March 2016. The Approved Purposes in the Heritage Lottery Fund approval letter dated 20th June 2016 defined the parameters of the Project:
For the Building Works:
There were some 32 retail properties, including one double fronted and one multi-fronted property and one residential property for which various levels of shop-front replacement and window replacement were to be undertaken.
For the Public Realm Works:
- Surface treatment, including paving, parking, planting and street furniture, of the High Street, exclusive of the carriageway, between its junction with Coniston Road and its junction with The Hills, inclusive and extending along the frontage of Nos 127-131, the Post Office to the east and No. 73, High Street to the west. This would be the largest component of the public realm works.
- Landscaping of a small area to the east of the junction between the Hills and Skelton High Street.
- Provision of a raised bed and mural base located opposite the junction of the High Street with Coniston Road.
Supporting this core programme was an Activity Statement. The Heritage Lottery Fund described this as:
“….the activities you will do to ensure that people will have engaged with your townscape….. to help people understand the heritage. You will need to include training activities that will enable more people to gain essential skills and help them care for the heritage of their townscape.”
The Activity Statement defined nine separate activities. One of the nine activities concerned the Skelton Villages Civic Pride coffee mornings; this was Activity 7 in the Statement. Another related to post-completion building maintenance; this was Activity 9.
The remaining seven Activities were all geared to examine, expand upon or document, in one way or another, the history of the project area and its wider context in Skelton.
Activities 1 and 2 covered the surveying, excavation and interpretation of the mediaeval site at Boroughgate. This is a site of potentially national significance and the work had the full support of the site’s owners, the Skelton & Gilling Estate.
Activities 3, 4 and 5 were aimed at further enhancing the historical record. Activity 3 provided for the capture of memories of some of the residents; Activity 4 provided a photographic record of the buildings in the Conservation Area; Activity 5 provided the research which eventually fed into a publication, Skelton Revealed, which brought together many of the strands of the project and activity work.
Activity 6 was a piece of history all of its own. The first-ever medieval re-enactment event in Skelton took place.
The final Activity, number 8, was aimed at linking education, arts skills and history by means of a mosaic trail, joining the project area of the High Street with other key historic buildings along the High Street.
It was a major objective of the proposals contained in the Activity Statement to aim to draw in and train a significant volunteer effort.