Lottery cash fills void left by fall in government funding

The new year brought news our city’s bid for funding to restore Stanmer Park is a step closer.

StanmerHouseWithJosephThe new year brought the good news that our city’s bid for funding to restore Stanmer Park is a step closer.

Stanmer Park is one of the largest public parklands in the city, and has a long and fascinating history.

Settlements within the park date back to Saxon times, and much later, the 18th-century saw Stanmer House built. There is, of course, also Stanmer village and a score of historic farm buildings at the heart of the park.

While it’s a popular destination with residents and visitors, much work is needed to restore the park’s natural landscape and Grade II listed buildings.

Conservation of Stanmer Park’s unique natural environment contributed to our area successfully becoming a UN Biosphere last year, and it’s important that we continue to pursue this work.

We will now receive a grant of nearly £300,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund to develop detailed proposals in partnership with the South Downs National Park, residents, businesses and community groups. If successful, some £4 million could be coming our way to put those plans into action.

This is the latest in a raft of successful bids to the HLF, bringing money to our city.

In October, we got an HLF grant for the Pavilion and Museums to purchase more items for our public collections; in June, we got a similar "first-round" bid to develop proposals to refurbish the Volks Railway on the seafront.

And, of course, the hugely-successful restoration of The Level was in large part paid for through external grants.

At a time when our funding from government is plummeting, and with soaring demand for other council services like social care, it’s crucial we continue to bring in external money for projects to improve our parks, roads, and tourist attractions.

Well done to all involved.