A Bath park has been awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund’s Parks for People programme.
A partnership between Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Parks Team, the Friends of Sydney Gardens, local residents’ groups and the Holburne Museum has successfully bid for £332,000 for Sydney Gardens.
The money is the first part of a programme to secure a £3.6 million grant to improve the historic park.
The money will be used to restore historic buildings, invest in landscaping works and deliver activities designed to create ‘a beautiful and tranquil pleasure garden that achieves a renaissance as a unique, fun and restorative environment for all ages’.
The programme will include renovation of the play area and new gardens; and public events such as art sessions, community archaeology days and outdoor tai chi.
Starting in the spring, a design team will be working with the local community to develop these plans in more detail, with a full application submitted in June 2018.
If successful, this will mean an investment of £3.3 million - a once in a lifetime opportunity for what is thought to be Britain’s only remaining 18th century pleasure garden.
Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North) Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund have given a huge boost to the Council by awarding us this money, which will be used to improve what is the only remaining 18th Century pleasure garden in the country.
“We are very fortunate to have many parks and green spaces in Bath and North East Somerset. Sydney Gardens is one of our most beautiful and tranquil open spaces and this money will help to ensure it can be enjoyed by many for years to come.”
Chairman of the Friends of Sydney Gardens, Jonny East, said: “This is a great example of how the council’s Parks Team, working in partnership with the local community, can attract a substantial amount of external investment to help restore and improve this historically important, and much-loved, park.”
HLF’s Chief Executive Ros Kerslake said, on behalf of HLF and Big Lottery Fund: “Public parks play a vital role in our health and well-being. With this investment from National Lottery players there’s real opportunity for a rejuvenated Sydney Gardens to deliver huge benefits to the whole community.”