Newcastle MP and mayor tour renovation projects bringing town’s heritage back to life

8 NOV 2016


The site of the former Maxims nightclub was the starting point of a tour of a number of exciting projects underway to transform life in Newcastle-under-Lyme, thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

MP Paul Farrelly and the Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor Ian Wilkes, were among VIP guests on a heritage tour which included the new Belong community village taking shape on the site of the former nightclub.

The Belong village centre will be open to the public and incorporate a heritage gallery with a range of facilities linked to the site’s heritage. These include Sammy Bell’s tea rooms, the recreated Old Pomona Inn, a reminiscence gallery and timeline charting the history of the building from its origins as a 17th century home, through to its development as Newcastle’s first pottery, a staging coach inn and most recently the iconic Maxims nightclub.

The next stop was St Giles Church, which has recently landscaped its churchyard to showcase the heritage once obscured by the unsightly ‘mound’ and launched the St Giles Heritage Trail app as an interactive way for people to access the site’s history.

Representatives from Community Interest Company, Sporting Communities, also highlighted their project to engage young people in the Roman history of Chesterton following a ‘Young Roots’ grant from the HLF.

Elise Turner, HLF Development Officer for the West Midlands, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, we are able to support a wide range of projects with funding amounts ranging from a few thousand to over a million pounds. What they all have in common is opportunities for people to connect to their local area through its history, and make a positive impact for people living there today.

“We welcome new ideas for projects all the time, and organisations interested in discussing their ideas should look out for funding surgeries we will be running in Newcastle.”

MP Paul Farrelly added: “It’s great to see the wide range of projects underway and the significant impact they are already having to improve the town and the lives of people in it. There are some fabulous ideas being shared to develop these facilities and I hope people will be inspired to identify more opportunities to increase people’s awareness of Newcastle’s history and take pride in the local area.”

The Belong Heritage Gallery will provide the setting for a wide range of activities and reminiscence sessions for people with dementia and establish a dementia centre of excellence in the town.

It will open when the village launches early in 2018, creating over 140 jobs and providing accommodation for 100 older people, either in independent living apartments or households providing 24-hour care. The village is being developed by specialist healthcare property company, Prime, and will be operated by Belong.

Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor Ian Wilkes, commented: “The Borough Council welcomes the contribution of the Heritage Lottery Fund in working with local organisations to support regeneration of the town, both in terms of its physical transformation and activities to engage the community in our shared heritage.

“We would really encourage people to make the most of opportunities created by these projects, as well as to put forward ideas for new ones.”