Culture cash boost for city’s gateway

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ONE of the main roads into Hull looks set to get a £1.6m makeover in time for the City of Culture celebrations in 2017.

The Heritage Lottery Fund is backing Hull Council’s plans for improving Beverley Road, and some of its important, but crumbling, landmarks.

Initially the city council is being given nearly £70,000 to work up a detailed plan to restore the route, whose history dates back centuries.

An ancient way into the city from the north, with origins stretching back at least to medieval times, the road is still one of the heaviest used in the city, but is shabby and run down in places.

Thousands of drivers every day pass its most evocative building, the bomb-damaged remains of National Picture Theatre, which is hidden behind hoardings.

Other buildings of note include the former Kingston College, which is now Kingston Youth Centre, built in 1836 to 1837 and the Grade II Trafalgar Street Church and Northern Library, which was built 1895 by Cheers of Twickenham.

Brunswick Arcade, which contains numerous shopfronts and a good part of which is currently covered by scaffolding, could get £400,000 spent on it, as part of the plans, Coun Colin Inglis said yesterday.

The council has been criticised for already spending £200,000 propping up part of the privately-owned building, which dates back to 1890.

But Coun Inglis said it was an “obvious” contender: “We will restore it to how it looked when it was built, replacing original features that have gone missing.

“We will probably end up doing the roof and making part of the building which has been made unsafe, safe.”Asked why they were looking to spend more public money on it, Coun Inglis said: “What’s the alternative? Let it fall down?”

The National Picture Theatre may also get a look in, as will Kingston Youth Centre.

Owners of buildings in historic terraces will be able to apply for grants to do up the fronts of their properties.

Coun Inglis said: “We know full well that this isn’t going to do everything – we could spend ten times as much on restoring the road to how it was 100 years ago.

“We want to pick off the bits that will make a significant difference to the look of it, within the constraints of the scheme.

“We will be assisting owners to bring buildings up to scratch.

“Restoring the uniformity of the frontages significantly improves the look of an area as we know from other projects we have done in Hull such as the Boulevard.”

The council now has until next February to develop its proposals.

If successful work will start late 2015 and will be completed by 2019.

Fiona Spiers, the head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and Humber, said: “Beverley Road is best-known as the gateway leading into the city of Hull.

“As such, it’s key that it’s restored to its original splendour in time for 2017 when Hull becomes “City of Culture”.

“We’re confident our funding will help the council to achieve this aim and will be working closely with it as plans progress over the coming year.

“City centres can – and should – be at the heart of community life and we believe that restored, high quality shop fronts and historic features, make a real difference to everyone’s overall quality of life.”