Catalyst for Recovery
“The Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) is a fantastic project for Ryde. I’ve been involved from the first day and seeing the plan come together and start to be delivered, has been great.
“It is a wonderful example of partnership working and HAZ will mean our town can come out of the pandemic in a strong position, ready to be re-invigorated.
“Ryde HAZ will benefit from nearly one million pounds investment from the funding partners over the four-year programme. A recent further £120,000 grant pledged by Historic England for 2021, has been effectively doubled by Ryde Town Council’s investment, so we have a further quarter of a million pounds to spend on improving the pedestrian area in Ryde High Street, as well as on new public realm for each of the town squares.”
“People will be able to see with their own eyes that something is happening, and the place will visibly improve before our eyes.”
“There will be new street furniture, shrubbery planters and public art installations – people will be able to notice the difference and this will rekindle pride in Ryde! When the pandemic is over, our town will start to grow again.”
“To recover we have to invest and as a result we will see Ryde will once more be the place to live and visit.
“One of the biggest improvements will be the pedestrianisation of the High Street. It will kick start Ryde’s recovery and Ryde Town Council is working hard, with our partners and stakeholders, to be able to restore the Town Hall, Vectis Hall and St Thomas church.
“We have to have a clear vision of what we want to achieve. Under the HAZ scheme we are carrying out a piece of work to identify shop fronts that could be improved, and we are exploring how we can convert the unused upper floors for residential purposes.
“Aspire at the top of the High Street is applying for planning permission to create living accommodation on their top floor – and we would like to see much more of this type of activity.
“Some of the shop owners will take advantage of the Historic England shop front improvement grants to refurbish their properties and the grants will assist with the costs, on a project by project basis. This will help to make the shopping experience in the High Street an even more pleasant activity and encourage people to spend more time there.
“The vehicle free space will encourage families and children to shop safely and to enjoy open air cafes.
“I would like to see a move towards more art and culture in the High Street along with more food and drink businesses. With the demise of national retail brands in the High Street and many empty units, we need to see increased opportunities through refurbished premises for independent artisans, makers, hospitality outlets and entrepreneurs.
“We will see a shift too, from companies that don’t need to be on the High Street being encouraged to move to more appropriate locations, so those businesses that will benefit the town and community most from being positioned in an accessible central setting can move in.
“We have a four-year plan in place, and it may not end there, as we seek to create and build longer-term legacy for the town. It’s such an exciting time for Ryde.”
Councillor Phil Jordan, Ryde Town Council
Chair of Ryde Heritage Action Zone Steering Group