Lottery bid ‘vital’ for Hunstanton

Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk Councillors ENGANL00120130214162659
Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk Councillors ENGANL00120130214162659
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Plans to spend more than £800,000 on the restoration of a Hunstanton park are crucial to the town’s future, according to council chiefs.

A bid to secure lottery funding to cover most of the cost of the Heritage Gardens project is currently being developed.

And the scheme was backed by members of the West Norfolk Council cabinet during their meeting on Tuesday.

The bid proposes to spend around £825,000 restoring the historic green spaces and buildings on the town’s Green, Esplanade Gardens and Cliff Parade areas.

A report published by officers ahead of the meeting said: “The green space was central to the original vision of Henry Styleman Le Strange for a purpose built Victorian seaside resort.

“The areas remain pivotal to the town’s heritage and seaside facilities today but have deteriorated and heritage assets eroded due to piecemeal and inappropriate design of key features over the years.

“The project aims to deliver a comprehensive restoration of this important seaside park, which celebrates and respects the original vision of its founder.

“It will leave a lasting legacy of greater awareness and engagement of how the area has developed over time.”

If the application is successful, around 80 per cent of the money would be provided by a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant, with the borough council contributing 20 per cent, around £165,000.

Although the idea was debated at committee meetings last week, deputy leader Alistair Beales said the area was “desperately” in need of the new investment.

Paul Beal, portfolio holder for culture and tourism, said: “If we don’t do this we’ve still got to pay a lot of money for developments that need to be brought up to scratch.

“Hunstanton does rely on tourists so this project is welcome and also needed.”

Environment portfolio holder Brian Long said: “I think we are very fortunate. Hunstanton has a lot going for it and the shelters are as much part of the fabric of Hunstanton as the lighthouse and arcades.

“It’s part of what makes a seaside resort and the fact they can attract that much lottery funding to keep them in good stead for years to come is vital.”

And council leader Nick Daubney added: “It’s good to know there’s such a positive attitude towards getting things done there. It’s a wonderful resort.”

A further report on the project is now expected to go before the cabinet next February, just before the final bid document is submitted to the HLF.

A decision is expected from the HLF next summer and, if approved, work will begin in October next year.

It is hoped the project will be completed in time for the 2017 tourist season.