An independent report shows how community involvement and the revitalisation of five key historic sites has been a game changer in Redruth.

The report by Rose Regeneration confirms the positive effect of investment into Redruth town centre after a four-year High Street Heritage Action Zone programme (HSHAZ), which came to a close at the end of March this year.

The evaluation report highlights how the successful bid by Cornwall Council on behalf of Redruth for HSHAZ status in 2019 resulted in over £1.6 million of funding being awarded by Historic England, and a further £4.4 million secured by Cornwall Council and local partners.

The Redruth HSHAZ has resulted in a social return on investment of £2.68 for each £1 invested and a Benefit Cost Ratio of 3.78, indicating high value for money, comparing the cost of the project against the benefits or outcomes against Government benchmarks.

The programme has also led to increased public awareness and appreciation of Redruth’s heritage, with key landmark buildings and cultural events being positively received by the local community.

Cornwall Council portfolio holder for economy, Louis Gardner, said: “The investment and hard work of the community has acted as a catalyst for heritage-led regeneration to improve the prosperity of the town centre.

“It continues to involve and serve the local community and businesses, adapting to the challenges that all high streets have experienced over the last few decades. Working in collaboration with the community and local businesses, the Redruth HSHAZ scheme has had a far-reaching positive social and economic impact, delivering heritage-led regeneration and cultural programming that has breathed new life into the town centre and established a vision and a set of values that will guide future decision-making.”

The Redruth HSHAZ has revitalised five key sites in the town centre:

  • The London Inn (Nos.33 & 34 Fore Street) has been brought back into use offering affordable commercial units at street level and town centre residential accommodation above and behind.
  • The Buttermarket cluster of historic buildings are being refurbished with completion anticipated in July 2024, creating a vibrant space for independent businesses including an innovative food offer to boost the nighttime economy, as well as providing a venue for regular markets and wide-ranging events programmes.
  • The Ladder is a new creative and community hub in the former Passmore Edwards Library, which was listed at Grade II as part of the HSHAZ. The building is being conserved and refurbished by a new Community Interest Company, securing the long-term future of the former library for the community.
  • 81 Fore Street the former HSBC Bank which had been empty for a number of years was purchased by Redruth Revival CIC using HSHAZ funding as a new location for Mining Exchange Studios – a collective of artists and makers.
  • Redruth Civic Centre & Library and Information Service moved to new premises on Alma Place with the important community service devolved to Redruth Town Council

The Redruth HSHAZ also awarded a number of repair and improvement grants to priority historic buildings in the town centre, and funded initiatives to improve access around Redruth, including new town centre maps. The HSHAZ supported local businesses to recover from the effects of the pandemic on town centres by establishing a HSHAZ Project Board and Cultural Consortium and organising a number of ‘creative get togethers’ that brought people and businesses in the community together to find creative and collaborative solutions to the issues facing Redruth.

In addition to the main grant of £1.6 million, Historic England awarded a grant of £80k to deliver ‘Redruth Unlimited’, a four-year programme of cultural commissions to stimulate increased footfall and reconnect the community with the town centre. Over 168 artists were involved in delivering the programme, supported by 1,148 volunteers. Redruth Unlimited attracted 2,931 participants and an estimated total audience of well over 32,000.  Redruth Unlimited was managed by FEAST and it levered £82,851 in additional match funding for Redruth.