Thanet District Council and Friends of Ellington Park have submitted a second stage Heritage Lottery Fund bid for £1.8million.
The funds are to regenerate Ellington Park in Ramsgate through the creation of a new café, toilets and landscaping at the park.
The partnership achieved a £164,000 development grant in January 2017 and developed the plans, with the support of a professional design team – Allen Scott Landscape Architects, Clague Architects and Woodley Coles Quantity Surveyor – as well as the local community and project partners.
A community consultation was held to share proposals for a conservation and heritage plan, a masterplan to develop the design of the park, maintaining and improving heritage features and landscape alongside new café and toilets and a 10-year plan to manage and maintain the park and the new improvements.
The consultation, which reached over 6,000 local residents through surveys, workshops, interviews and 1-2-1 open days to support the project designs, has resulted in the development of a five year activity plan for the park.
The activity will include ecology and wildlife learning programmes for schools and families, gardening volunteer programmes, an events programme, setting up a community digital archive and app, as well as offering opportunities for residents to engage with the park and its volunteers.
The new cafe business plan sets out how the café building will be run and managed as an environmentally friendly, healthy eating, not–for–profit community enterprise by the Friends of Ellington Park. All profits will be re-invested in the park, employing a community gardener and continuing community activities and events after the funding period is finished.
The proposed building will also be used as an education space in the day time and community events space in the evenings. It will be on the terrace overlooking the park, in the same location as the original rustic bandstand.
The 100sq metre café building will have 36 seats inside and 24 seats on the external terrace and 3 unisex toilets, with accessible WC and baby change.
There will also be new benches, the promenade will be widened and an outdoor seating area created. There will also be a new public square for market stalls and a petanque area, for the use of more than 90,000 visitors per year.
This bid was submitted in August 2018 and a decision will be made in January 2019, with the project taking another two years to procure, build and complete the capital works, followed by many years of events and activity.
Cllr Jason Savage, Cabinet Member for Operational Services at Thanet District Council said: “The submission is the first step on the path to achieving the vision that has been set out for Ellington Park. It is an exciting time and we very much hope that our application is a success. The park is so important to the community and the ideas being put forward are a true reflection of the community consultation. We along with the Friends of Ellington Park, local residents and park users are committed to seeing this historic open space restored.”
Beverley Perkins, Chair of the Friends of Ellington Park group said: “Having worked on this project for five years, The Friends of Ellington Park are now eagerly awaiting the Heritage Lottery Fund outcome to this application for funds to regenerate the park.
“The design was decided by public consultation, so the park will truly be a ‘Ramsgate Asset’ of beauty and value. We can’t thank Thanet District Council Councillors and officers enough for supporting and leading this bid.”
Ellington Park is 126 years old. The late Victorian and Edwardian landscaped area is across 13 acres of land. It was laid out in 1893 on what was once part of the estate surrounding Ellington House.
The park was designed by the Victorian landscape company Joseph Cheal and Son, known for their work at Hever Castle and Kirkstall Abbey.
Today, many of the heritage features of the park remain, including over 390 trees, which dapple the rolling slopes of the park enjoyed by some 9,000 visitors per year.
The Friends of Ellington Park are a committee made up of a group of local residents and park users committed to improving the facilities and environment of the park.