THE GREEN light has been given for work to start on a £1million facelift of Leamington’s historic Pump Room Gardens.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded the project £995,000 in January to repair the bandstand, relay paths, add extra seating, improve the drainage, open up views of the river and replant the riverbank to encourage wildlife, and plant new trees.
There are also plans to create a sensory garden at the cinema end of the gardens, and with a nod to the 21st century there the revamp will include a wi-fi hotspot.
The Friends of the Pump Room Gardens (FPRG) and Warwick District Council, who have been working in partnership and who each contributed £100,000 in funding – have now been given the go-ahead by lottery chiefs to start recruiting contractors to carry out the work.
Archie Pitts, FPRG chairman, said; “This grant is a wonderful culmination of eight years’ work by the Friends to get the Gardens restored.
“Our mission started with the reinstatement of the Linden Arches. The grant shows that HLF believe these gardens are of national as well as local importance and should be restored.”
“The Friends are hugely grateful for the generosity of many local donors enabling them to raise their part of the matched funding.”
District council parks and gardens spokesman Coun David Shilton, said was delighted to get the go ahead for the project.
He added: “This money will enable us to restore the gardens and maintain them to a high standard. The town will be permanently improved by this project. This grant will complement the already restored Jephson Gardens.”
The project will bring opportunities for the people to get involved with developing both leisure and educational activities in the new look gardens. Volunteers of all ages, as well as local schools and colleges, are welcome to get involved.
The gardens were originally only for the use of patrons of the neighbouring Royal Pump Rooms “to afford them pleasant promenades” but were opened to the public in 1875.
In 2012 the 19th century Lindon arches were restored to their former glory as part of a £110,000 project.
Visit www.pumproomgardens.org.uk for further details.