The rich heritage of a County Durham seaside town is being enhanced through the regeneration of historical buildings and the launch of a new app.
Durham County Council launched the Seaham Townscape Heritage Project in 2019 after it secured £1.6 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The three-year scheme aims to breathe fresh life into Seaham’s historic town centre and regenerate targeted historic buildings in the Church Street area of the town, helping to create more attractive and interesting places to live, work and visit.
The first two successful applicants to benefit from the scheme so far are Paul and Alison Chapplow, who own Seaham Pet and Reptile, and Andrew Smith and Mark Milroy, owners of The Coal Face.
The supported works, which are to begin soon, will be undertaken with respect for the character and integrity of the Seaham Conservation Area. These include chimney and roof repairs, the installation of new windows, traditional style shop fronts and internal security shutters.
Other owners and tenants of targeted properties in Church Street are also being encouraged to apply for the grants, which will help to improve, regenerate and transform the Seaham conservation area.
If successful, they will be given financial support to carry out works to repair and reinstate traditional features that might not normally be financially viable.
Meanwhile, a new app showcasing the sites and stories of Seaham launches next week.
‘Discover Seaham’ has also been developed as part of the Seaham Townscape Heritage Project, allowing locals and visitors alike to explore the town’s history and heritage in an interactive way.
The app, which has been created by heritage app specialists At Creative, offers different walking trails to follow around the town as it tells the story of buildings and sites of interest and their role in the development of the town. It also provides the opportunity to promote activities and events taking place in the town.
Local residents and representative from local history organisations have helped to create and develop the content, with the app also incorporating heritage walking routes to ensure these can be enjoyed and accessed more easily and effectively.
The project aligns with the council’s Towns and Villages regeneration programme which aims to restore buildings and improve spaces to create attractive and interesting places for people to work, live and visit.
Cllr Kevin Shaw, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for strategic housing and assets, said: “Retailers trading in Church Street have asked for a long time about how we can help to stop and reverse the decline of Church Street and help them to create an attractive and vibrant town centre. We are therefore delighted to award our first two grants for this scheme and look forward to working with the owners on these projects to help transform the high street.
“There are eighteen months left for other property owners and tenants to apply for the scheme and I would strongly encourage them to do so. The grants will help make the town centre a much more attractive place to live, work and invest in, following what has been a very challenging time for traders.
“Alongside this regeneration work, the Discover Seaham app will further help to put Seaham on the map as it helps to bring the town’s history to life. Users will be able to benefit from the recently launched free wi-fi to access the app as they discover and enjoy the rich heritage of the town.”
The Discover Seaham app will be free to download for both Android and Apple device users via the App store or Google Play from next week
Business owners and tenants who are interested in applying for a grant, or anyone looking to contribute to the app, can contact the project team at email@example.com
More information can also be found at www.durham.gov.uk/article/19357/Seaham-Townscape-Heritage-Project