You're using an outdated browser. To get the most out of this website, as well as many others, please consider upgrading to a modern browser, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.


The High Streets Heritage Action Zones is a £95 million government-funded programme led by Historic England, designed to secure lasting improvements and help breathe new life into our historic high streets for the communities and businesses that use them. Historic England is working with local people and partners to unlock the rich heritage on these high streets, through repair and improvement works as well as arts and cultural programmes, making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors.

The Heritage Action Zones in Newport and Ryde are a commitment by all the partners in seeking to regenerate our key towns on the island.

If you are curious about the Heritage Action Zones and have any queries, hopefully you will find answers to your questions below but please do not hesitate to contact us, should you require further information.

  • Why is the focus on high streets?

    A successful, vibrant high street acts as the focus of not only local commerce but also the local community. They are one of the few places where people from all backgrounds can meet and engage with each other. Yet, we know from both news reports, and the evidence of our own eyes, that high streets are currently facing many challenges. Without intervention to adapt to these challenges they will continue to decline..

  • What is a Heritage Action Zone?

    It’s an initiative to create economic growth and improve quality of life in places. Working with local people the HAZ partners aim to breathe new life into old places that are rich in heritage and full of promise – unlocking their potential and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors. We are doing this through direct project delivery and partnership working, focused in the defined HAZ areas.

  • What exactly will be delivered by each high street project?

    Each town has its own identified priorities; programmes will include physical improvements and cultural activities to regenerate our struggling high streets. Take a look at our projects page for more information.

  • What can the money be spent on?

    The money can be spent on:

    The regeneration of historic buildings and the associated public realm, on or around high streets, using it as a catalyst for improving wider social, cultural, environmental and economic outcomes. Each town has its own planned list of projects which have been agreed with the funders. You can read more on the projects pages.

    Each town has also bid for additional funding for an associated cultural programme focussed on working with communities and local cultural organisations in developing site-specific events designed to encourage local people to engage with the heritage on their high street.

  • Does the fund cover the purchase of buildings?

    Unfortunately Historic England are unable to fund the purchase of buildings through the High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme.


  • Will grants be available to building owners, and how can I apply?

    Some of the funding will be provided as grant support to building owners to deliver projects that bring unused spaces back into use or restore historic shopfronts. There will not be a general call for proposals, rather we ask that you contact the project manager if you have a building project that you think might be appropriate for HAZ grant support. Over the coming months we will be contacting building owners to highlight the opportunities to work with the HAZ to help bring about the changes we need to see in our High Streets, and seek out the best opportunities for grant-funded improvement works.

  • Can High Streets HAZ be used to fund building services?

    For buildings that are already in use and will be continuing with the same use after repair works, for example a shop where we are reinstating the historic shop front, we would not fund services except in exceptional circumstances, for example where the state of repair of current building services threatens the historic significance of a building.

    However, if spaces within the building are being converted to a new use that will increase the sustainability of that building, then services would be eligible. For example if the space above a shop were to be converted to a flat and needed services installed to facilitate this. Services would be funded on a percentage. This percentage would be flexible in response to the needs of each individual building and would be discussed by successful applicants at the Programme Design phase.

  • Where did the funding come from?

    Historic England’s high streets scheme is part of the government’s ongoing work to help high streets through the Future High Streets Fund. This scheme’s funding includes £92 million of Government funding for High Streets Heritage Action Zones and £3 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme to engage people in the life and history of their high street.

    Match funding is provided local by Ryde Town Council, Newport and Carisbrooke Community Council and Isle of Wight Council.

  • Do you collect footfall data in Ryde or Newport?

    Yes, and much more besides! We receive monthly reports providing insights into visitor behaviour in both town centres, you can see these on a dedicated page on our website, click here.

  • I have another question that hasn't been answered.

    Please use the contact form at the bottom of the page. We’ll endeavour to answer your question and, if appropriate, add the answer to our FAQ.