Ambitious plans to restore The Level to its 1920s glory

Posted On 07 Jul 2010 at 8:00 am

Brighton and Hove City Council has been successful in their first round bid for a Heritage Lottery ‘Parks for People’ Grant of £1,841,300 to restore and enhance one of the city’s busiest and well-loved open spaces.

The figure includes a development grant of £106,400 which will now be used to put together and submit a detailed second round application to secure the remaining £1.7 million. This stage is also competitive and the council expects to make their second round bid in March 2011 with a decision given six months later.

The announcement gives the council the opportunity to seek match funding for the £2.5 million project.

Plans to improve The Level were drawn up last year following consultation with local people, community groups, officers and other agencies.

Hundreds of local people joined in the consultation. They gave their views on initial design proposals and on how to improve the open space off Lewes Road in the heart of the city.

Historic records were used as a basis to develop an imaginative scheme which aims to breathe new life into The Level and provide a safe and welcoming environment for all those who visit. Work will now continue to finalise these designs.

The proposals include:

  • Restoration of MacLaren’s original 1920’s layout which includes the full length of the colonnade and pergola with new planting
  • Installation of a new water feature to replace the original boating pond and restoration of its ornamental bridges and shelters
  • A new sensory flower garden to complement the 1920s theme
  • Restoration and enhancement of the Rose Walk
  • Upgrading of the café and toilet facilities
  • Improving the paths, lighting, seating and signage
  • A new contemporary children’s playground

A separate project to provide a state of the art skatepark is also being developed and plans look set to be finalised by the end of the year. The council will be working with local skaters to develop the design.

Council leader Mary Mears said: “This is excellent news and moves us one step further in our bid to improve The Level.

“The Level is an important park for the city. It provides recreation and outside space for a significant number of people in a densely populated area.

“This council is committed to conserving and improving our open spaces. We recognise its going to be tough in the current climate, but we’ll be working extremely hard to get the match funding we need to progress the scheme further.”

A first-round pass means the project meets the Lottery’s criteria for funding and that they believe it has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money.

The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so a first-round pass is an endorsement of outline proposals. Having been awarded a first-round pass, the project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals to compete for a firm award.

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