Local distinctiveness grants

Grants protect distinct features

A new grant scheme has been launched to help protect locally distinct features in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Research carried out last year highlighted features such as village springs, stone roofing slates and sheep washes all help to make the Cotswolds special.

The research, commissioned by the Cotswolds Conservation Board which looks after the AONB, raised concerns that many of these features are in a poor state of repair.

As a result the Board has identified two target areas for new local distinctiveness grants - around Tetbury in Gloucestershire and West of Witney in Oxfordshire.

Individuals, local organisations and parish councils in the target areas can apply for the grants.

A wide range of locally distinct features can be reinstated or installed as part of the scheme, such as milestones, signs, gate posts, memorials, seats, railings, pumps and wells - in fact anything which helps to make a local community special.

John Tabor from the Conservation Board, explained:

"The report emphasised that while the landscape is the most important feature of the AONB, the built environment is also very significant.

"This obviously includes distinctive Cotswold-stone towns, villages and walls, but also means smaller, local elements such as old signs, railings and memorials."

John continued:

"Many of these smaller distinctive features are fragile and if they're not looked after are in danger of being lost forever.

"But we are not only looking for restoration projects, the grant funding can help introduce new features of appropriate, high quality design."

The local distinctiveness grants can fund up to fifty percent of costs, towards a maximum total project cost of £20,000.

Applications can be made at any time and will be considered by the Board's grants panel which meets regularly and also awards grants for the restoration of dry stone walls and for the conservation of limestone grassland.

The scheme is part of the Conservation Board's 'Caring for the Cotswolds' project which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

For more details call 01451 862000.

The local distinctiveness grant target areas are:

around Tetbury in the parishes of Avening, Beverston, Boxwell with Leighterton, Brokenborough (part), Cherington, Didmarton, Easton Grey, Long Newnton, Norton (part), Sherston, Shipton Moyne, Tetbury, Tetbury Upton, Westonbirt with Lasborough.

west of Witney in the parishes of Chadlington, Charlbury, Chilson, Churchill, Combe, Fawler, Fifield, Idbury, Kingham, Shipton, Milton and Ascott-under-Wychwood, Spelsbury/Taston/Dean, Sarsden, Stonesfield