High Street Heritage Action Zones

James Innerdale from The SPAB leading a maintenance walking tour around the South Norwood HSHAZ


Conservation Areas. On the Heritage at Risk Register.


Laura Owen (Project Officer)

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (Maintenance Specialist and Training Provider)

manifestfilm (Filmmaker – Petticoat Lane)

Eliza Islam (Interviewer – Petticoat Lane)

London Borough of Tower Hamlets (Client – Petticoat Lane)

London Borough of Croydon (Client – South Norwood)


£24,666 (exc. VAT) – Petticoat Lane

£8,310 (exc. VAT) – South Norwood

The High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) initiative is a £95 million government-funded programme, delivered by Historic England, to unlock the potential of historic high streets across England, fuelling economic, social and cultural recovery.The programme is to run from 2020-24. More than 60 historic high streets were offered funding, including five in London, each within a Conservation Area on the Heritage at Risk Register.

LHBT have been appointed to support the Petticoat Lane and South Norwood HSHAZs, bringing together a team of community, historic building, and maintenance experts to deliver bespoke activities, designed to have long-lasting benefits for both people and place. 

Petticoat Lane High Street Heritage Action Zone

The Petticoat Lane HSHAZ is  centred on a small conservation area (Wentworth Street) that was designated due to the surviving nineteenth-century townscape and the hosting of the centuries-old Petticoat Lane market. This makes it primarily commercial in focus, but with large portions of residential accommodation run by housing associations.

A view down historic Wentworth Street in Tower Hamlets towards the City of London's skyscrapers. Market Stalls extend down the street.
A flyer advertising a community workshop titled 'Building Maintenance Essentials' for the Petticoat Lane HSHAZ.

Consultation and Engagement

LHBT began by leading on a consultation process, going door to door to meet with local businesses, community members and others linked to the upkeep of the conservation area. This was to help us build a picture of the local community, what support they might be looking for in caring for their buildings, how we could make that support accessible and generally raising awareness of the HSHAZ programme.

This resulted in a three-part programme of training and engagement, centred on: 1. Community and Businesses – raising awareness; 2. Training for Housing Associations and Landowners; 3. Legacy resources for community and businesses, broken down into a mix of digital and written materials.

Training Workshops for Housing Associations staff and large Landowners

By targeting housing associations and large landowners the project aimed to enable landlords to better support their tenants who occupy historic commercial and residential properties.  

LHBT and James Innerdale from The SPAB, hosted two training events, led by James, with 33 attendees:

  • Understanding Old Buildings – full day course for Tower Hamlets Homes staff
  • Understanding Old Buildings – full day course for local Housing Association staff and other large local landowners
James Innerdale from The SPAB leading a training workshop for the Petticoat Lane HSHAZ
A document labelling architectural features on a drawing of historic Polly Nathan's Fish Dinners shop.

Maintenace Training Videos

Between January and March 2024 LHBT will be working with local filmmaker, manifestfilm, and The SPAB, to create a series of short maintenance training videos that can support local landlords, tenants the wider community, to understand building maintenance and how to carry out simple tasks. LHBT is also working with a group of young people from local charity Streets of Growth to provide videographer traineeships as part of the filming project. 

Bespoke Guidance Materials

  • Maintenance and Building Glossaries
  • Building and shopfront maintenance calendar
  • Shopfront Design Guide (produced by Tower Hamlets Council)

South Norwood High Street Heritage Action Zone

The South Norwood HSHAZ  is recognised for its special interest as a Victorian suburb, initiated by the development of the nearby railway. Within the HSHAZ’s boundary is the high street, and a mix of commercial, private residential and community-focused buildings surround it. 

Croydon Council were keen to target a wide spectrum of the community, with a particular interest in reaching younger people, notably those in construction-focused further education. 

A view down South Norwood High Street showing a row of terraced buildings with shopfronts on each ground floor.
Rosie Shaw from LHBT delivering community training at South Norwood Library for the South Norwood HSHAZ

Training and Talks

LHBT and James Innerdale (SPAB) developed and delivered five events:

  • Maximising your Old Building’s Potential – half day workshop with LHBT
  • Reusing Old Buildings – half day workshop with LHBT
  • Maintenance Essentials – 1 hr talk with James Innerdale, The SPAB
  • Caring for your Old Building – full day course with James Innerdale, The SPAB
  • Traditional Building Crafts – careers talk for local Sixth Form, with Matt Wilson (The SPAB, 2019 Fellow) and Tom Skinner (The SPAB, 2021 Fellow) delivered careers talks to students at the Harris Professional Skills Sixth Form in South Norwood

Bespoke Guidance Materials​

As a result of the public events LHBT and the SPAB collaborated to produce a series of tailored legacy resources, using the South Norwood HSHAZ as the inspiration for the content:

  • Love it or Lose it: A Practical Guide to Maintaining Older Buildings
  • Maintenance Calendar: A Suggested Plan for Annual Tasks
  • Reusing Older Buildings: An Introductory Guide

The resources are to be distributed by Croydon Council to the community via various channels, including the websites of local community organisations.


Diagram of a building with architectural features labelled.

The Petticoat Lane HSHAZ project has been funded by; 

London Borough of Tower Hamlets logo
Historic England logo

The South Norwood HSHAZ project has been funded by; 

We love SE25 logo
Historic England logo
South Norwood Regeneration Programme logo
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