The restoration of Stanmer Park is set to begin this month with the appointment of the main contractor.
Brighton and Hove City Council has announced Buxton Building Contractors Ltd has won the tender for the National Lottery-funded Restoration Project.
Site set-up has already begun in preparation for the official construction start of 24 June. The work will last until autumn 2020 at a cost of £5.1m.
Buxton Building Contractors has extensive knowledge and experience of historic landscape restoration work. One of their recent projects is the refurbishment of the 19th Century Malting House in Canterbury to create a performing arts centre.
Work at Stanmer will start in the park’s historic walled garden, which is being leased to Plumpton College.
Formerly Stanmer House’s kitchen garden, and more lately used as the city council’s plant nursery, the area will be transformed into an attractive expertly designed garden with a new café and enhanced opportunities for horticultural teaching, learning and volunteering.
The 20-hectare project area also includes building a new welcome centre at the Lower Lodges, offering park information, refreshments, public toilets and bike hire.
The Grade II Frankland Monument will be restored. An additional car park, plus a new shared pedestrian/cycle path will also be created.
Buxton Building says it will work closely with the council to ensure park visitors, residents and onsite businesses are kept informed of project progress and any temporary changes to public access.
Councillor Anne Pissaridou, chair of the city council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee said: “We are delighted to be witnessing the start of this exciting new chapter in Stanmer Park’s fascinating history.
“The community has been involved with Stanmer for many years and this project will build on their valuable work to protect and celebrate this precious green space asset, while hundreds of new education, volunteering and learning opportunities and activities will enhance everyone’s enjoyment of the park for generations to come.”
Pauline Warnes, business development director, Buxton Building Contractors, added: “We are delighted to be working with Brighton and Hove City Council on the enhancement of this prestigious historic park and ancillary buildings.
“The planned improvements will restore and transform this community space for the benefit of many user groups locally and for those visitors who come from further afield.”
James Hibbert, deputy principal at Plumpton College said: “We are excited for the project to begin, and to start seeing the plans come to life.
“The first part of the walled garden to be developed is the new horticultural space and campus.
“We look forward to welcoming new students to that campus over the next academic year, and the opportunities for us through the walled garden to showcase and teach horticultural excellence to students on the doorstep of Brighton.”
The council was awarded £3.8m by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and BIG Lottery Fund in January 2017
The project will restore the walled garden and 18th century landscape and historical features, and plant more than 250 new trees.