English Heritage has announced grants worth £9 million to help transform 59 of what it calls 'England's most deprived urban and rural areas'.
Made under the third round of the Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme (HERS), the grants bring the total pledged, since the scheme began two and a half years ago, to £27 million.
The biggest award - £150,000 - goes to Burnley Borough Council to help with the preservation of a series of listed buildings including a former theatre.
Birmingham City Council is in line for £100,000, to go towards the redevelopment of 19th century buildings in the city's jewellery quarter (see page 5).
Blyth Valley in Northumberland receives £10,000, the smallest award. This is earmarked for the improvement of shop fronts and the upper floors of significant historic buildings.
English Heritage chairman Sir Neil Cossons said: 'Conservation-led regeneration is crucial because people are proud of their 'humble heritage' and care about the streets where they live and the parks in which their children play. The historic environment is a unique asset that generates jobs and attracts people to an area. By targeting local shopkeepers and businesses who are the backbone of rural communities, our HERS programmes safeguard jobs and transform local economies, helping to create safe and stable environments.'
Sir Neil estimates that every £100,000 of English Heritage money generates an extra £480,000 in funding from other sources.