30 June, 2022

Ramsgate Heritage Action Zone regeneration programme draws to a close after five years

Ramsgate’s Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) has reached the end of its fifth and final year.

Launched in 2017 and funded by Historic England (£450,000), the Heritage Action Zone is one of ten original schemes across England, set up to breathe new life into historic places that are rich in heritage but in need of a boost to make them more attractive to residents, businesses, visitors and investors.

Over the last five years, Thanet District Council has worked in partnership with Historic England, the Ramsgate Society, Ramsgate Coastal Community team, Ramsgate Town Council and the wider local community on a range of projects within the HAZ. Extensive research was undertaken to better understand the history, heritage, and changing face of this dynamic coastal town and to understand what makes the heritage in Ramsgate so special. The end goal was to protect and improve the town’s heritage for the future.

As a direct result of HAZ funding:  

  • Nine historic sites gained listed status following a listed building review
  • Publication of ‘Ramsgate: The Town and its Seaside Heritage’, a book featuring beautiful new photography
  • Repairs made to the town’s Pulhamite or artificial rock, with training given to help local people look after it
  • Community consultation to review and update the Ramsgate Conservation area appraisal with the publication of a guide with practical advice for residents and businesses located within the conservation area. The appraisal is one of the first to include a chapter on climate considerations which will serve as a model for others.
  • Roof repairs made to the iconic Ramsgate Clock House

Community engagement projects included: 

  • Retiling of the public steps at Kent Place with Pugin-inspired tiles designed by local school children as part of Historic England’s Heritage Schools programme
  • Seafront Placemaking, an engagement project to understand how the local community use and value the seafront, including a memory-mapping exercise with interactive digital map and public exhibition
  • Podcast series created in partnership with the Ramsgate Festival of Sound which uncovers stories and lived experience of the town through a sonic trail

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said: “Heritage Action Zones bring value to places, revive communities and help to engage people in learning more about their local heritage. Over the past five years, working with local councils and partners, this scheme has helped spread prosperity and opportunity to historic places in England that were in need of a boost.

“Old and familiar places that are rich in heritage and full of promise have been invigorated to make them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors. This has been done through joint-working, grant funding and sharing Historic England’s skills and knowledge. Heritage is a powerful tool for delivering economic and social benefits and has an important role to play in levelling up. We look forward to continuing to create opportunities for local communities through our remaining Heritage Action Zone programmes.”

Craig Mackinlay, member of Parliament for Thanet South said: “It has been a pleasure working with the HAZ team and its community partners over the past five years. At risk historic assets have been identified and plans moved forwards on many fronts. Ramsgate’s Clock House now has a good part of its required funding guaranteed as part of the Levelling Up Fund for Ramsgate and now has a solid future.

“The involvement of youngsters and community groups throughout has ensured that more residents of Ramsgate have a greater appreciation of the unique heritage we have and what needs to be done to both preserve the past as these assets become our foundations for the future.”

Emily Gee, Regional Director of Historic England said: “It’s fantastic to see the progress made in Ramsgate over the past few years – to re-engage people with their local heritage and draw in further funding for historic places in need of help. The work continues, and our focus now turns to the blossoming High Street Heritage Action Zone. This will see lasting physical changes to parts of the High Street and Harbour Street, complementing the other areas of investment locally.”

Cllr Pugh, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Thanet District Council said: “The HAZ has laid the foundation for future heritage work, and has already helped to attract further funding which will continue to improve the town for all who live or work there, and for visitors too.

“The wide ranging community engagement activities have allowed us to build a lasting network of local stakeholders with a passion for community heritage projects. Over the next few years investment through the Ramsgate High Street Heritage Action Zone, the Future High Streets Fund and the Levelling Up Fund will continue to improve the public realm and key buildings, allowing its heritage to shine.”

Since 2016/17, Historic England has put £6 million into Heritage Action Zone projects, which have acted as a powerful catalyst for regeneration in these areas, since generating a further £60 million in investment. It has demonstrated that heritage can be a powerful force for levelling up.  

You can read more about the Ramsgate HAZ on our website.  You can also view a short film featuring interviews with some of the experts involved in the HAZ here

You can read more about all of the Ramsgate Future projects on our website.

Photo credit: Historic England

Share this story