A funding scheme has been announced that could return a town centre to its historical past.

The new shopfront grant scheme will allow the owners of modern or non-traditional shops in Maryport to apply for grant funding to enhance the historical architecture of the Maryport/

It is part of the £1.2 million Historic England as part of the town’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) programme.

The Historic England fund is being run by Allerdale council and aims to replace eligible modern shopfronts which do not complement the historic architectural style of their host building or the conservation area, with shopfronts that will enhance the building and the street as a whole.

Shopfronts which are modern or non-traditional in Senhouse Street, or within the parts of Curzon Street or Crosby Street, may be eligible for a grant and are encouraged to get in touch with the council.

The grant scheme has a defined amount funding and will be available where a change in design is needed, rather than for repairs or decoration to historic or traditional looking shopfronts.

The shopfront initiative is part of the council's wider Maryport Regeneration Scheme, which has been the subject of two successful funding bids. One of these is the £1.2m HAZ programme funded by Historic England and the council with contributions from Sellafield Ltd.

The aims of the HAZ are to help regenerate the high street using its historic environment and heritage as the catalyst. The projects are aimed at improving the quality and authenticity of the historic architecture as well as their use in order to increase enjoyment of the town centre and boost footfall.

Cllr Mike Johnson, leader of the council and Executive member for economic growth, community development and placemaking, said: “Following our success in gaining funding for the HAZ programme and the Future High Streets Fund there's lots to be excited about in Maryport and our officers are working hard to bring the regeneration plans to life.

“The town has some amazing architecture and this new scheme will help enhance that to make Maryport and even better place to live, work and visit.”

With the support of a team of conservation architects, a Shopfront Design Guide for Maryport has been produced to ensure work to any premises is of a suitable design that will positively enhance the town's character and will be acceptable to main funders.

Businesses who believe they are eligible should email helen.brownlie@allerdale.gov.uk with details of the address in mind and its current use). Helen can give further details on the main criteria and design guide.