The Stromness Townscape Heritage Initiative ran between 2009 and 2014. The overarching aim of the Stromness THI was to aid the regeneration of the town centre, ensuring economic viability through investment in the built heritage.
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The Stromness THI was part of an Orkney Islands Council initiative which was set up to coordinate the activities of Council departments, partner agencies and their funders, working towards the common goal of regeneration in its broadest sense, creating a viable long term future for Stromness. Other projects included the Stromness Pier head Regeneration, Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme and the building of the new Stromness Primary School.
The THI was initially pursued following a community meeting in December 2007 which identified the aspiration from the local community to see vacant properties in Stromness brought back into use. Orkney Islands Council identified the funding from Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland as a mechanism for delivering the community desire. The central themes of the THI were developed in consultation with the local community over the second stage of the bidding process and were consolidated and refined as four main themes:
All aspects of these were further refined and delivery mechanisms identified when the funding bid was successful, which resulted in working closely with the Community Council, Arts Forum, Stromness Business Forum, Orkney College, local schools, youth clubs, Visit Orkney, the local community, visitors, funding partners and other Orkney Islands Council initiatives.
The initiative was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and other partners, notably Historic Scotland through the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) and Orkney Islands Council. The total funding for the scheme was £3.5 million, however this resulted in £6.5 million of public/private investment, of which £5.1 million was spent with local building contractors.
£2.6 million of the funding was invested into over 55 properties within the Stromness Conservation Area, through grants for restoration work and bringing vacant space back into use - the emphasis being always on the conservation led economic regeneration of the area.
£290,000 was used for improvements to the public realm, a term used to describe the streets and open spaces. The old concrete flags on the street were uplifted and a local quarry reopened to deliver the historically accurate flagstones particular to the streets of Stromness.
The investment into the historic fabric was also underpinned by an extensive training plan. Over £200,000 was spent in training for contractors in conservation techniques, new visitor offerings through tour guides, MP3 tours and a community web site and training for school pupils.
To find out what is happening in Stromness now visit StromnessOrkney.com or Orkney.com, links to which are in the Related Sites section to the left.
For any queries relating to the Stromness THI, please contact Kirkwall THI, 15 Victoria Street, Kirkwall, KW15 1DN, telephone 01856886468 or email Kirkwall THI.