Stanmer Park restoration project wins £3.8m funding bid

Ian Rideout from Plumpton College, Cllr Gill Mitchell, of Brighton & Hove City Council and Trevor Beattie and South Downs National Park Authority.
Ian Rideout from Plumpton College, Cllr Gill Mitchell, of Brighton & Hove City Council and Trevor Beattie and South Downs National Park Authority.

Restoration plans for Stanmer Park have been given a £3.8 million boost by the Heritage Lottery Fund, it was announced today (January 9).

The cash will be handed to Brighton and Hove City Council, and comes from the Big Lottery Fund’s Parks for People scheme.

Stanmer Park SUS-161101-144347001

Stanmer Park SUS-161101-144347001

Cllr Gill Mitchell, chair of the environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “It’s fantastic news. This project has the potential not just to restore a substantial part of Stanmer Park to its former glory, but develop the area and provide exciting new experiences, employment and opportunities for residents and visitors both now and in the future.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the New Year!”

The Stanmer Park and Estate Restoration Project aims to restore around 20 hectares of the park’s landscape and its Grade-II listed buildings. The total cost of the restoration project is £5.8 million and the council plans to cover the remaining costs through match funding and revenue, and contributions from partner organisation and donors.

For the past two years council officers have been working with Plumpton College, the South Downs National Park and other organisations including Historic England, to prepare a masterplan for the park following a £300,000 grant from Parks for People.

Trevor Beattie, chief executive for the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “Stanmer Park is a unique survival from the Georgian age and this grant will restore its original landscape. It will also make it much easier for the people of Brighton and Hove to access the National Park on their doorstep.”

Alma Howell, assistant inspector of historic buildings and areas for Historic England, said: “The success of this bid will start a process of helping to remove Stanmer Park from our Heritage at Risk Register by delivering a number of restoration projects and a stronger heritage led vision for the estate. We look forward to continuing to work with the council to find positive sustainable solutions for the remaining ‘At Risk’ factors.”

The masterplan aims to improve the main entrance and 18th century parkland, Walled Garden and Nursery and the adjacent depot area.

This includes: restoring the landscape and heritage features; addressing traffic and parking issues, and improving access to the park; relocating the council’s City Parks depot; restoring the Walled Garden and surrounding area; delivering horticultural and heritage gardening training and food production; providing educational and learning opportunities; explaining the heritage and importance of the Estate; and a long term vision for the estate over the next 10 years.

The proposals also include re-allocating car parking, creating some additional spaces, and overflow provision, to accommodate some of the extra 300,000 visitors expected each year.

A transport plan for the site includes cycle parking, a proposed cycle hire hub, improved walking and cycling routes, and signage from Falmer station.

The restoration project will include a variety of opportunities for volunteering and training in horticulture, heritage gardening and food production, along with facilities for learning about the heritage of the estate, historic landscape and the South Downs.

Plumpton College has agreed in principle to manage and maintain the walled garden on a lease from the council.

Ian Rideout, head of faculty for Forestry, Horticulture and Foundation Learning at Plumpton College said: “We are delighted to be a key partner in this project that will greatly benefit the local community.

“We look forward to continuing to provide learning opportunities at Stanmer Park for local people to access education and training in the walled garden.”

Work on the project will begin in the New Year with most restoration works carried out in 2018.