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HLF grant to help Buxton establish itself as 'England's leading spa town'

The beautiful town of Buxton - with its fine historic buildings and natural thermal mineral water - has every reason to aspire to being 'England's leading spa town.'

And it's a vision which is moving nearer to becoming a reality with the help of a £62,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The funding will be used for a specialist study into how Buxton can best capitalise on the renaissance of its heritage buildings and its legacy as a centre for wellbeing to ensure the town is at the top of visitors' 'must visit' lists.

The study is being commissioned by the Buxton Visitor Economy Strategy Steering Group, made up of people representing Buxton's key cultural heritage attractions including, the Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust, the University of Derby, Buxton Opera House and Vision Buxton, working in partnership with both High Peak Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council.

Paul Kerryson, joint Chair of the Steering Group and Buxton Opera House Director, said: "We're very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund and, of course, everyone who plays the National Lottery, for their ongoing support in Buxton's transformation.

"It's a timely funding award with the completion of the Crescent and Thermal Spa project, expected in 2019, coming after the completion of schemes at the Opera House and the Museum. The Octagon at the Pavilion Gardens is also set to open again this year following major investment so the time is right for Buxton to step up.

"We are on the cusp of taking the town to a new level in terms of our heritage attractions for residents and visitors and it is fundamental to our future success that we are fully prepared to make the most of this unique opportunity."

The grant award has been made from the HLF's Resilient Heritage Fund which is focussed on managing heritage assets.

Jonathan Platt, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said: "We're delighted to continue our support for Buxton - a town where we've made one of our biggest investments outside London at just under £34 million.

"This latest grant will help the partners and the Steering Group ensure that this investment has sustained benefits and that the buildings and attractions are enjoyed for generations to come."

Councillor Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire County Council, and High Peak's Executive Councillor for tourism, Tony Kemp, have welcomed the opportunity for closer collaboration between the councils, university, local stakeholders and the cultural sector to develop a unified strategy for the visitor economy.

Commenting jointly they said: "The two Councils have kept faith in the town through two decades of political and economic change bringing in nearly £90 million of external investment to add to the very considerable expenditure in heritage buildings made by the Councils themselves as outlined in Paul's comments above.

"The time has come to bring together these achievements and ensure the town claims its rightful place on the national and even international tourism agenda - that cannot and should not be led solely by the Councils and we look forward to playing our part in this joint initiative."