On the Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th of September, Historic England hosted their Places Panel in Boston.

The Historic Places Panel is made up of 17 influential members (previously known as the Urban Panel) to provide a broad spectrum of independent expertise to help local authorities and others engage in the regeneration and revitalisation of historic places.

While funding is not a direct benefit of the Panel’s attendance, many of its members also sit on, and advise the government on future investments such as the Town Deal and the Levelling Up Fund.

Because of this, the Panel’s visit was an exciting opportunity for us to show its members all the wonderful things Boston has to offer but also for us to use their knowledge and expertise to review recent strategic plans for the area and draw from experiences they’ve had of similar projects elsewhere.

 Walking Tours

The Panel’s visit involved two walking tours around Boston where we showed them St Boltoph’s Church, Black Sluice Pumping Station, the Highstreet, Sessions House, Shodfriars and PE21.

During the tour, the Panel were shown buildings that have benefitted from the shop front scheme and how the Council hopes to heal the Highstreet with the Town Deal funding.

In addition, the Panel were shown the plans for Boston’s Levelling Up Fund which would include the creation of a new integrated hub and learning centre at PE21, developing a new urban living in the heart of the town and the town centre’s greening project.

Councillor Austin, Portfolio holder for Heritage and Conservation said “We are honoured by the Panel’s visit to Boston and the opportunity to show them the town’s heritage and the plans we have for it in the future. We would like to thank the Historic Places Panel for sharing their enthusiasm and expertise to help us make Boston better than ever before”.

On Wednesday, the Panel gathered for the last time in the Council Chambers after visiting the Port of Boston to discuss – with Boston Borough Council representatives – suggestions for regenerating the town.

Eilis Scott, Regional Director at Historic England in the Midlands, said: “We were delighted to bring the Historic Places Panel to Boston, and they were inspired by the commitment of Boston Borough Council to see it reach its potential. We want to help the historic market town and port harness its wonderful heritage, and thrive as a place where people enjoy living, visiting, and doing business. A town’s heritage can be such a positive force for the local economy and communities.”

The Panel’s visit has been extremely useful and has made the Council even more enthusiastic to bring change to the town.  The Council are excited to read their review paper, which will be published in October and will be available to read from their website https://historicengland.org.uk/about/who-we-are/committees-and-panels/historic-places-panel/review-papers/