The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded the council £50,000 to further develop their plans for the area before a final decision is taken on whether the area will benefit from a £1.89m investment.
As part of the proposals, local people from the area would be trained in traditional construction and restoration techniques as they help revitalise some of the town’s most impressive architecture, dating from Georgian, Victorian and even medieval times.
As well as improving the town centre’s appearance and emphasising Prescot’s rich heritage, the programme would help find new uses for vacant and underused premises. Repairs would include the replacement of rotten windows and doors and other general improvements to make the premises suitable for use.
Knowsley Council has secured the initial development grant from the Heritage Lottery’s Township Heritage Initiative after fighting off tough competition from areas all over the country. It must now demonstrate to the Heritage Lottery Fund how the money would be spent and the vast benefits to the local area if it were to be successful in its bid for the full funding.
If given the go-ahead, the project would include a wide variety of educational work and community events. Knowsley College and specialist instructors would provide a training programme of traditional skills that will allow young people to train in historic skills, gaining recognised qualifications to give them a foothold on a career in construction and restoration.
Cllr Dave Lonergan, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Economy and Skills at Knowsley, said: “This funding would bring huge benefits for all residents of Prescot and the wider borough.
“Not only will it provide a more attractive and vibrant town centre, with historic buildings revived and empty premises brought back to use, but it will also give young people real experience of a career in conservation and restoration.”
Sara Hilton, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: “City and town centres form a large part of our urban landscape and are the backdrop to millions of people’s daily lives.
“Building on our previous investment in the area, the Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted that we can help get this Townscape Heritage Initiative off the ground - this is just a first step, but a hugely positive one.”