A COMMUNITY-led group has secured £1.5m from Historic England to transform the heart of Tyldesley, restoring buildings and providing a life-line for local businesses.

The £1.5m project will focus on premises that have been vacant for a long time and work with landlords and tenants who want to redesign their shop fronts with a grant contribution of at least 80 per cent from the For Tyldesley group.

The For Tyldesley High Street Heritage Action Zone is one of only two community led bids in England to secure this funding.

The Covid pandemic not only delayed the original April 2020 start of this four year project, it also claimed the life of For Tyldesley founder member Paul Kinsella, who passed away from the virus.

Paul, together with Ian Tomlinson, wanted to utilise the success of the busway, create a sense of pride and welcome families moving into new housing developments around the town.

Following Paul’s death, at a crucial time in the project’s development, Historic England helped the team to appoint a new building project manager – Kate Mitchell from Creative Heritage Consultants to help deliver the vision for Tyldesley.

One of the first buildings to be transformed will be the shop next to the Half Moon. This will serve as the project base and show room for the scheme.

Ian Tomlinson, project manager, said: “Since Paul died it’s been humbling and reassuring to know that loads of local people have stepped up and offered to get involved with improving our high street.

“I want to thank you all for your support, this project will not work without your continued passion for the place.

“After a shaky start back in April, the traders and community have given me the confidence to push on with the help of Kate.

“Through our initial outreach last year and engagement through social media it has proved to me that most people still believe in the town and want to see it thrive again.

“I just hope I can do it justice and at least meet their expectations.”

For Tyldesley also aims to deliver a range of community engagement activities and cultural events to celebrate the heritage of the town when safe to do so.