WORK has now started at The Royal Hotel on Priestpopple and Stait Photo and Hexham Dental Practice, both situated on Battle Hill, after benefitting from a heritage grant aimed at restoring and regenerating the town centre.

The Building Grants Scheme is a key component of the Hexham High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) which aims to make the town a more attractive, engaging and vibrant place for people to live, work and visit.

It is a part of a £95 million government-funded national programme led by Historic England. 

Works to The Royal Hotel include internal alterations to facilitate the use of the ground and first floor as a bar and restaurant, with the installation of bi-fold doors to the ground floor.

Enhancements to the frontage of Hexham Dental Practice include new hand-painted signage and improvements to the historic arch to the eastern side of the premises.

Stait Photo will see traditional timber windows installed at upper floors and improvements to the shop front, including hand-painted signage.

Northumberland County Councillor Wojciech Ploszaj, cabinet member for business said: “We are delighted with the success of the HSHAZ building grants scheme and the levels of interest from the business community in improving their historic properties and generating new uses of vacant floorspace.

“It has been great to be able to assist so many different types of projects - all of which will have a positive impact on the town centre.

"Local building contractors and suppliers have also benefitted from multiple tender opportunities created by the grants scheme, which has increased spend in the local economy.”

To date, the scheme has successfully enabled the restoration of the Coach and Horses public house, 1 & 3 Cattle Market, Vercellis Restaurant and Elliott Architects Ltd at 24 Battle Hill.

These projects have collectively been awarded more than £500,000 of grant funding and are investing over £200,000 of their own funds to complete these important works.

Jules Brown from Historic England said: “It’s great to see all this work underway and I can’t wait to see the finished results.

"We hope that the enhancement of these historic buildings will help to generate new opportunities for both these and neighbouring businesses.”