The restoration of Stanmer Park has moved a big step forward today after the city council learned it was to receive £3.8million of lottery funding to restore historical buildings and rework the park.
The masterplan, which will see around 20 hectares of the park’s landscape, and Grade II listed and other buildings restored, was approved last month by the South Downs National Park Authority, despite concerns over the creation of a large car park at its centre.
The £3.8million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and BIG Lottery Fund’s Parks for People scheme will be joined by match funding and revenue and contributions from partner organisations and donors to reach the £5.8million total cost of the project.
Gill Mitchell, chair of Brighton and Hove City Council’s environment 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.”
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 added: “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.”
For the past two years council officers have been working with representatives from with Plumpton College, the South Downs National Park and other organisations including Historic England, to prepare the masterplan for the park following a £300,000 grant from Parks for People.
The plan 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
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.
The car parking improvements include a new landscaped car park at the Patchway – an area currently used for car parking and the Cityparks depot which will also replace parking areas at Stanmer House.
The Lower Lodges will see the current parking areas formally laid out and landscaped to include an extra 100 spaces while smaller car parks and ad-hoc parking along the main drive will be removed.
A Transport Plan 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 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 start in the New Year with most restoration works carried out in 2018.