A project to preserve Pontefract’s rich history and promote its town centre has been completed.
Shopfronts in the town centre on 27 buildings were revamped as part of the Townscape Heritage Initiative, which sought to bring out the best in Pontefract’s historical architecture.
The scheme, jointly funded by Wakefield Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, involved specialist work on the appearance and structure of buildings around Market Place, Cornmarket and Ropergate.
Ackroyds Florist on Cornmarket was among the shops to benefit from the scheme. As well as a revamped shopfront, work was done to repair a leaky roof and strengthen the interior of the building.
Owner Hazel Jukes said: “It looks a lot better since it was done and it’s improved the building no end.
“Some people said it looked better but others said they didn’t even know we were here before the work was done so it has definitely helped us to get noticed.
“It has really helped to preserve the buildings and the history of the town. It’s a been a really good scheme and we would not have been able to afford the repairs without the investment.”
The Grade II-listed Crown Estate Agents building on Ropergate was another property to receive the treatment.
Director Chris Loy said: “I am great believer in retaining heritage and making sure the character of a town isn’t lost.
“The scheme helps to retain the appeal of a town centre. When high streets fall into disrepair it’s not as much of an enjoyable experience for customers, but when a town centre looks smart and fresh it gives a better feeling and they’ve done a really good job in Pontefract.
“We’ve been in these premises for 26 years and it’s where we want to stay.”
Coun Denise Jeffery, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for economic growth and regeneration, said: “I am delighted that so many people who have contributed their knowledge and skills came together to mark the success of this project and all the hard work involved.
“This specialised work has safeguarded and enhanced so many important historic buildings in the town centre.
“It means future generations can come and enjoy Pontefract’s rich heritage as the conservation works have helped to improve the town centre for businesses, residents and visitors.”
The restoration included the Red Lion, a Grade II listed building, which received comprehensive work to the front, rear and roof of the building, restoring architectural details and brickwork back to their original appearance.
Georgian Ropergate House, was transformed with new windows, repaired brickwork and redecoration.
Other buildings improved through the grant include 10 Market Place, the Liquorice Bush and 1-7 Finkle Street, and six buildings on Gillygate.
The scheme began in 2011.