Plans to secure millions of pounds for the restoration and reuse of the former Everton Library have taken a major step forward.
Heritage Works Buildings Preservation Trust (“Heritage Works”) in partnership with Hope Street Ltd and Liverpool City Council has received initial support including £284,400 development funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Jewel on the Hill project, to help progress detailed plans towards the application for a full grant.
The Jewel on the Hill project is the acquisition, restoration, redevelopment and re-use of the Grade II listed former Everton Library. The vision is of a beautiful building in a historic location developed as a ‘creation centre’ serving Everton and beyond – a hub for creative enterprise and a resource for creative education. Within the project an activity programme over 5 years will engage local people and others in learning about the heritage of the library and the surrounding area, and also about the practical skills involved in restoration.
This funding will allow a development stage to run from July 2012 until Autumn 2013 when the full grant application will be submitted and other matched funding sought towards what will be a £5 million project. If all is successful the building will be fully back in use by Autumn 2016.
It is envisaged that the Liverpool arts organisation Hope Street Ltd will manage the restored building working with other local stakeholders to deliver an inclusive arts and heritage programme. This will include the launch of a reminiscence youth theatre, intergenerational arts projects, oral history projects. All of this will be in addition to its core activity of developing artists and art forms.
Everton Library is situated on St Domingo Road, at one of the highest points in the city, and is a local landmark with views over the city centre, North Liverpool, the river and the sea. The Jewel on the Hill project is an important part of the wider regeneration activity that will take place in Everton Park and the surrounding neighbourhoods over the coming years, aiming to create a vibrant new district by redesigning the park as a visitor attraction and by providing quality new housing development.
Heritage Works Chairman, John Glester said, “We are delighted with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund in helping us move towards securing a positive and productive use for Everton Library. The Jewel on the Hill vision is the culmination of 5 years work with local stakeholder groups and can restore the present sad and derelict building to an integral part of community life whilst preserving an important part of Everton’s heritage."
Hope Street Limited’s Director, Peter Ward said, “This is excellent news for Liverpool and particularly for the continuing regeneration of the north of the city. In recent years we have been working across the north of the city and have begun to develop some exciting projects with local residents, schools and community groups. This award will assist us in strengthening our links with the local communities and especially supporting the brilliant work being done by Liverpool City Council alongside the fantastic groups, schools and organisations based in and around Everton”.
Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, said: “We at the Heritage Lottery Fund are delighted to be giving our initial support for this exciting and ambitious project that will transform Everton Library. Bringing this fantastic piece of Everton’s heritage back to life for the local community to use and enjoy and giving it a new sustainable use will be a real boost to the area and feed into wider regeneration plans. We are looking forward to working with the Heritage Works and its partners and seeing these plans progress.”
Councillor Maria McEvoy , Liverpool City Council’s Heritage Champion said: “This is a fantastic, innovative scheme which will not only bring back into use this beautiful and historic building, but also engage the local community in finding out more about the heritage of the area where they live. This is an exciting time for the Everton Park area, with lots of regeneration planned, and it’s wonderful that – with investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund - this muchloved local landmark will be able to play its part.”