Focus consultant helping to save ‘At Risk’ buildings in Nottingham

Focus consultant helping to save ‘At Risk’ buildings in Nottingham

Focus Consultants cultural services consultant, Laura Summers, has become a Trustee of a new charity which has been formed to save heritage buildings across Nottingham city.

The Trust will also have an important role in helping communities across the city to manage their historic buildings.

The City of Nottingham Historic Buildings Limited (CoNHBL) has been created to preserve buildings which are in poor condition, and many of them are considered to be at risk by Historic England. The charity’s remit also covers parks and archaeology.

The CoNHBL is one of the mechanisms designed to deliver the objectives of the Nottingham Heritage Strategy: A Future heritage for the city. The Strategy was launched in 2015 and its vision is ‘to establish a vibrant, valued and widely-known heritage which delivers long term benefits to the people, economy and environment of the City of Nottingham’.

Laura, who joined Nottingham-based Focus Consultants in 2018 as a cultural services consultant and has always been involved in voluntary, community activities in the city, said:

“I am Nottingham born and bred. I love this city and have always been fascinated by its very rich history and very visible heritage. Twelve years ago, I completed my thesis on the city’s at-risk buildings and sadly many of these are still on Historic England’s At-Risk register. It is a great honour to now be involved in saving these important buildings for the future. They are a significant part of our landscape and where possible, should be saved”. 

“I am keen for the CoNHBL to also be an organisation that encourages and supports communities to get involved in the preservation of their historic environment. I look forward to working with passionate, knowledgeable and dedicated individuals and groups to achieve this.” 

To date, the new charity has secured funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund and a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) – with support from Nottingham City Council – to look at new uses for the grade II Listed Bulwell Hall Stables. The long-term aim is to preserve the stables and save the building from vandalism.

CoNHBL has also been working with Nottingham City Council to find a future for the grade II* listed People’s Hall in Nottingham city centre, with funding from the NLHF.

Often described as one of Nottingham’s ‘hidden gems’, The People’s Hall, located in the Lace Market conservation area has a fascinating and diverse history. It was built by 18th Century city businesswoman Ann Morley and was home to the Nottingham Government School of Design, the organisation from which Nottingham Trent University originated.

The building is currently unused but with a grant from the NLHF it will be repaired and restored and its future secured through a long-term financially sustainable use.

The charity will use Heritage at Risk registers to identify projects as well as working in partnership with Nottingham City Council, Historic England, Nottingham Civic Society and the public. It aims to promote heritage skills and conservation in the city by encouraging the public to participate in their projects.

The charity aims to preserve heritage monuments, registered parks and gardens, historic buildings in conservation areas and locally listed heritage assets will also come under its influence. To find out more, follow on Twitter @NottmHBT or Nottingham Historic Buildings on Facebook.

Focus Consultants, which also has branches in London, Leicester and Newark, is a multi-disciplinary company that offers a range of services to different sectors.

Focus divides its services into three sections – create, deliver and assess. It offers funding, business planning and economic development under the create banner, and quantity surveying, project management and building surveying as part of its deliver department. The firm’s assess services focus on sustainable buildings, building physics, compliance and planning, and on-site testing.

For more information, visit www.focus-consultants.com


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