Heritage Action Zones

Between 2017 and 2024, Historic England invested over £2m in Weston-super-Mare’s heritage through its Heritage Action Zones programme.

Great Weston Heritage Action Zone

North Somerset Council was awarded Heritage Action Zone status by Historic England in 2017. It was one of the first places in England to receive this status. This allowed Weston to apply for and receive over £800k worth of project funding. This project ended in September 2022.

Work included:

  • adopting Weston as a Conservation Area
  • adopting shopfront design policy
  • improving shopfronts in the town centre
  • developing heritage walking routes through the town centre
  • publication of the book ‘Weston-super-Mare: The Town and its Seaside Heritage’ in 2019
  • development of ‘Know Your Place’, an interactive mapping project
  • programming a series of major heritage exhibitions
  • enhancement of three High Street buildings
  • adoption of Article 4 Directions to safeguard Stone Walls in Weston

You can view a snapshot of Heritage Action Zone achievements in our summary document.

High Street Heritage Action Zone

In 2020, North Somerset Council received a further £1.1m from Historic England when it was awarded High Street Heritage Action Zone status. This project ended in March 2024.

Work included:

  • engaging communities with the heritage of Weston through volunteering and stakeholder initiatives
  • restoring and repairing original features in historic buildings
  • delivering a comprehensive public realm scheme to enhance Station Road, Walliscote Road and Alexandra Parade
  • improving the exterior of retail units through the delivery of a shopfront enhancement scheme
  • delivering a cultural programme, in partnership with Super Culture

The Heritage Action Zone programmes have led to 14 historic buildings being maintained and restored in Weston. This work includes bringing eight previously empty retail units back in to use for communities and local businesses.

Alongside the Weston-super-Mare Heritage Action Zone capital improvement work, a programme of community engagement was delivered.

This saw 873 local community volunteers provide 5,500 hours of work delivering 93 engagement activities. 

Highlights include 

  • 40 school engagement sessions engaging 8,465 young people with heritage
  • 29 public events including 15 heritage talks
  • nine guided heritage walks and seven exhibitions and displays



Great Weston Conservation Area

Adopted in 2018, the Great Weston Conservation Area stretches from Birnbeck Pier in the north to Royal Sands in the south of Weston-super-Mare and includes the town centre.

Work included:

  • developing a shopfront design guide policy for North Somerset (adopted as a supplementary planning document in September 2019)
  • developing a Local Heritage List for North Somerset (adopted autumn 2021)
  • developing Article 4 Directions to remove permitted development rights on demolition of stone walls one metre or less in height

Shopfront design guide

North Somerset’s shopfront design guide was produced with support from Historic England. It sets out best practice and policies to improve the quality, historic features and appearance of local streets. These improvements will make a positive impact on both retail and visitor experience.

The guide is now available for home and business owners. If you are in the Great Weston zone Conservation Area, grant opportunities are available.

Article 4 Directions to protect Stone Walls in Weston

Stone walls are an important part of the character and heritage of large parts of the Great Weston’s Conservation Area. In recent years many have been lost.

An Article 4 Direction ATD55 was confirmed and signed in September 2022.

The Direction requires planning permission to be granted prior to carrying out work on stone walls in the conservation area.

Other relevant documents can be access below.

Know Your Place

A digital mapping project that is putting our neighbourhood’s heritage on the map. This interactive resource provides information on local history and properties in North Somerset.

Heritage walks and tours

There are a variety of online and in person heritage walks and tours available to help you explore Weston and other areas in North Somerset. Many of these have been funded by our Heritage Action Zone project.