Historic England (HE) has named Sutton as the capital’s first Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) for its Victorian architecture in a bid to improve the borough’s economic growth.

The council applied for the special status to formally recognise its importance as a commuter town in the 1800s.

Buildings recognised for their historic value include Barclays Bank, Sutton Baptist Church and Sutton police station in Carshalton Road.

The buildings will be preserved under the scheme, which HE hope will help kick-start regeneration and renewal.

The project aims to remove the borough from the ‘Heritage at Risk’ register, promote interest in the town and support the council’s 2031 master plan.

Councillor Stephen Penneck, said: “You can still see remarkable examples of Victorian-era and early 20th-century architecture on the High Street by looking above the modern shop-fronts. Sutton is fortunate that many of these wonderful buildings have been preserved.

“We are really proud that Historic England has granted the town centre HAZ status. I sincerely hope that in 100 years’ time people will look at our current developments and think they are worthy of preserving as heritage buildings, as we do today.”

Heritage England’s London planning director, Emily Gee, said: “Heritage can be a driver for good growth and many parts of London, like Sutton, face huge pressure from development.

“We hope that the Sutton town centre HAZ will become an example for other London boroughs to follow in using their heritage to promote sustainable economic growth. We look forward to discovering more about the borough’s heritage and working with all our partners to ensure the success of the HAZ scheme.”

Sutton’s HAZ will be supported by Successful Sutton BID and the Carshalton and District History and Archaeological Society.