AN exciting project to bring vacant and underutilised buildings back into active use to help Millom thrive into the future has passed a significant milestone.

Reactivating Heritage Buildings is one of four ambitious projects that make up Millom Town Deal – a £29.3m programme that secured £20.6m from the Government’s Towns Fund last year along with a further £8.7m from match funders.

Now, a key building in Millom’s Town Square has been purchased as part of the project with the property set to become an Arts and Enterprise Centre – offering start-up and maker spaces for businesses.

It is proposed the former NatWest bank, which has been vacant since 2017, will include a cafe area, co-working and start-up enterprise spaces, digital access, studios and workshops to help draw people as well as new and existing businesses into the town.

The Arts and Enterprise Centre would bring people together to encourage collaboration, enable the sharing of ideas and knowledge and the development of skills, helping to encourage the start up of new businesses and delivering growth and opportunity for the area.


David Savage, the Chair of Millom Town Deal, said: “Many town centres across the country have empty or underutilised buildings which can unfortunately contribute to a feeling of decline.


“The Reactivating Heritage Buildings project is designed to encourage the opposite of this – to enhance the visual appearance of the town by ensuring that heritage buildings are refurbished and can therefore be brought back into active use. This would help to enhance the growing image of Millom and Haverigg and ensure it is a thriving place to live, work and visit.


“The creation of an Arts and Enterprise Centre is central to this project and builds on the entrepreneurial spirit that already exists in the town which is why the purchase of the former bank building is a significant step forward in supporting our town centre image. This is good news for the town.”


The wider Reactivating Heritage Buildings project will also revitalise the public realm in the Market Square and a new grant scheme will be launched to support the refurbishment of  other heritage properties in the town centre.


David added: “The success of the Millom Town Deal in attracting a total investment of £29.3M has been a focus on economic regeneration and this project is one part of the overall package of integrated proposals that will bring significant benefits to the residents of Millom and Haverigg.


“The former bank building is an important feature of the Town Square and one that this project will breathe new life into, benefitting the whole community for years to come.”


The other three projects in the Town Deal are:

  • The Iron Line – A proposal to sensitively transform the unique coastal lagoon into an inspiring visitor attraction which fuses ecology, heritage and art by creating an inclusive recreational route across Hodbarrow and around the sea wall.
  • Activating community health – The creation of a new, multi-purpose leisure hub to provide a range of facilities including a community swimming pool and 3G pitch.
  • Connected Millom and Haverigg – Improving Millom’s transport network to create a gateway to the town at the railway station, while transforming cycling and walking infrastructure in both Millom and Haverigg.


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