Jointly funded by Historic England and East Suffolk Council, as part of the North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone programme (HAZ), the Partnership Scheme in Conservation Areas (PSiCA) focuses on the historic High Street of North Lowestoft, which is the main commercial area of the HAZ. The aim is to repair and refurbish historic buildings along the high street, some of which are suffering from physical degradation, vacancy, neglect and inappropriate/unauthorised use.
The scheme will fund repairs to the structure and external fabric of buildings contributing to the historic interest of the area and the reinstatement of architectural features that have been lost from historic buildings.
Funding is available for conservation-led repairs and improvements including:
Grants will not be offered for routine maintenance, redecoration, internal repairs or works that involve the reversal of alterations that are themselves of quality and interest.
If you are the owner or leaseholder of a historic building you could be eligible for a grant.
PSICA grant applications will be considered on the following criteria:
For reinstatement of lost architectural features (for example a shop front) the grant rate is 80% of the total cost of eligible works. For repairs, the grant rate is 65% of the total cost of eligible works.
There is a minimum of £500 and a grant maximum of £50,000 (although grants at this level will only be considered in exceptional circumstances).
If your interest in the property is a non-repairing leasehold or tenancy you will need permission from the owner, who will be required to be the applicant.
If the property, or any part of the property is jointly owned you will need permission from all of the owners.
If you hold a full repairing leasehold with 21 years or more remaining on, then you will be eligible for grant.
Please contact us in the first instance. If the property is eligible we will arrange a visit and give an initial assessment. Three quotations (or tenders – depending on scale of work) will be required according to Historic England specification. If required, planning permission will need to be obtained and then your application form will be processed. Once the application form and quotation have been approved, work can be carried out. Works over £20,000 will require an accredited architect.
Grants will not be offered for work that has already begun, and cannot be awarded for works that do not have the relevant planning, listed building consent or building regulations approval. It is vital that applicants plan ahead when completing application forms by submitting supporting documents and obtaining any necessary consent.
This is an open three year grant scheme available from April 2019 until March 2022. Once all permissions have been obtained, application form received and your quotation has been approved, we aim to grant final approval within 7 days.
We will advise you on eligible works and the application process. All proposed works must respect the character and integrity of the building, and of the conservation area it lies within.
You will be asked to provide full details of the proposed works including:
Tendering and Professional Adviser Costs
As the grant scheme is financed with public money, the council requires that a competitive process is followed for architects, consultants and contractors. This will involve the applicant engaging appropriate professional advice at the outset. If the grant application is approved and the project goes ahead, these initial project costs can be part of the amount claimed under the grant.
Professionals should have relevant specialist conservation knowledge, ability or experience and should be a conservation-accredited architect (RIBA conservation architect) or a RICS conservation-accredited building surveyor.
Fees must demonstrate value for money
To ensure best value for the grants, the costs of eligible works should be supported by tenders or quotations from contractors secured following a competitive process. Contractors must be able to achieve the standards required and have demonstrable experience of working on conservation projects.
The grant offer will be based on the most competitive tender. If you want to accept a tender, other than the lowest, you must submit reasons why, within your application. If the grant administrators do not agree, any grant awarded will be reduced by a percentage, which reflects the difference between the lowest acceptable tender and the one you accept.
Planning permissions and building regulations costs are NOT covered by the grant.
A panel will meet to go through the applications and approve the quotation/tender. The panel will comprise East Suffolk Council officers and, where appropriate, staff from Historic England.
Once the project has been approved, the East Suffolk grants administration team will process the paper work and send out a Grant Offer Letter and Grant Agreement. You will need to accept the offer within one month. You will be required to agree to terms and conditions detailed in the Grant Agreement. An offer of a grant and the formal acceptance of that offer constitute a legal contract between you and the council.
If you are offered funding and you sign a Grant Agreement, the grant-work must be completed within 12 months of signing the agreement. We are happy to share a copy of the Grant Agreement with you if asked.
Before the grant is approved and the grant agreement is signed, all initial project costs (pre-contract costs) are at the grant applicant’s risk. Project costs eligible for grant funding, such as architect fees, can be part of the grant, however if the project does not proceed, a grant will not be given for any of these costs.
The grant is claimed on receipt of an invoice and following a final sign off visit. If there is an overspend on the grant-aided works the grant will not be increased. If the total cost of grant-aided works is less than indicated in your application, the amount of grant funding will be reduced in line with your approved grant rate. The grant payment will be withheld until we are satisfied that all works have been completed to the required standard.
Once the Grant Offer Letter and Agreement has been signed work must commence within 6 months. Work must not start until written approval is given. The project will be periodically monitored to ensure work is progressing satisfactorily and that the Grant Agreement is being adhered to.
Historic England and East Suffolk Council reserve the right to display hoardings during the building work and use photographs and details of your project in promotional literature.
Following completion of the project, the Heritage Action Zone Programme Manager, East Suffolk Council Conservation Officer and where appropriate members of staff from Historic England will visit the site to assess the completed works and ensure compliance with all terms and conditions. Following this visit, you will be asked to submit original copies of invoices and copies of certificates for the works undertaken for which you are claiming grant funding.
A grant will not be paid for work that does not meet generally accepted standards of quality and accuracy in materials and/or workmanship. Work should be completed by the approved contractor and sub-contractors as per the approved schedule of works, plans and drawings.