Council delays £4m Grove Park improvements bid to boost chances of being given money

PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 August 2018

Grove Park.

Grove Park.

Archant

A bid to secure millions of pounds in funding to revamp a Weston park has been deferred by North Somerset Council.

The authority will now not bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a grant to renovate Grove Park and its surrounding buildings until next year.

North Somerset hopes to secure £4million from the HLF, and was set to apply for the cash this month – but the project has been placed on the backburner following talks with advisors.

The funding would be used to enhance the park’s Victorian features, bring redundant buildings back into use and to create a better link between the park and the High Street.

It is hoped the project, if approved by the HLF, will prompt more events to be held in the park.

A council spokesman said: “Due to the HLF undergoing a major internal restructuring process, and the amount of competing applications being much higher than previous years, the council has been advised by the HLF to wait until early 2019 to submit its Grove Park stage one application.

“The HLF has recommended we spend more time developing our application so it fits under its funding framework in 2019.

“Although we were keen to start sooner, we are passionate about this programme and want to do everything we can to secure the bid.

“The deferment does give the bid a better chance and offers us the opportunity to prepare an even more detailed and considered stage one application for Grove Park, and we will be consulting further with all interested parties about this.”

If the council is successful in its eventual bid it will pledge £500,000 to the scheme, and it is believed the project would contribute ‘positively’ to the town’s ongoing economic regeneration – according to the authority’s community and environment service manager John Flannigan in June.

He added: “Many of these features are showing signs of decline and therefore require renovation to reflect the park’s status.

“In addition to restoring the park’s key heritage features and infrastructure we wish to encourage more events, volunteer activity and increased opportunities for formal and informal learning particularly around traditional artisan skills such as horticulture and stonemasonry.”

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