1. Industrial heritage buildings have a strong connection to local communities’ sense of identity and pride. Derelict industrial heritage buildings can hit the morale of a community hard, but their revival can be a massive opportunity for revived civic pride.
2. Industrial heritage buildings can help cities attract young wealth creators, particularly in the tech and creative sectors because of their aura of authenticity and history. This can be a great opportunity for local authorities trying to boost economic growth and for investors looking for a good return.
3. Revived industrial heritage buildings can help declining areas become edgy and cool. Those leading regeneration projects should look for a ‘game-changer’, says Dutch developer Thom Aussems – a process or activity that can change perceptions of the area. Using marketing and public relations to boost an area’s image can also be effective, says Manchester-based developer Tom Bloxham.
4. Make sure you have a viable use for the heritage building you want to save. There’s no point trying to save buildings if they’re not fit for 21st-century use, delegates heard. And a profitable use can pay for conservation work.
5. Austerity presents a major challenge for councils and community groups. Central government spending cuts mean less funding, lower numbers of conservation officers and more heritage assets being sold off by local authorities.
6. But austerity also offers opportunities. Community groups interested in saving heritage should offer their services to cash-strapped councils. And authorities need to focus on the economic benefits of reviving old buildings.
7. There are still funding streams available for regeneration projects but they are harder to find. The HLF’s Heritage Enterprise Grant, which helps developers carrying out conservation work, was described as a “lifeline” for the Ancoats Dispensary project. Joint ventures were also recommended with local enterprise partnerships and non-regeneration funding streams, for artistic or community activities, further possibilities.
8. Community groups working with developers can produce the best outcomes. Chris Brown, Executive Chairman of developer Igloo Regeneration likened the relationship between community group and developer to a marriage, with the local authority as the third party – all of them united by an inspiring vision.
9. Being able to tell a compelling story is a great help for community groups accessing funding and publicising what they’re trying to do. Attendees were wowed by the stories of the community trying to save Ancoats Dispensary and the campaign to transform the Churchill Way flyover in Liverpool into a new public space.
10. Digital tools are a great help for community groups getting their message out there, for raising funds and for engaging with the wider community. Many speakers were keen on crowdfunding website Spacehive while social media and email can help your campaign reach new audiences.