WORK on an eagerly-awaited £1.2million facelift of Leamington’s historic Pump Room gardens will start next week.
The first stage of the project will get underway on Monday and will see work to preserve existing trees, together with pruning, in both the gardens and along the riverbank, with the aim of opening up the views of the River Leam and Adelaide Bridge. Twenty-five new trees will also be planted.
Project bosses say while the newly pruned and coppiced trees may look rather bare to begin with, they will regrow over time and the work done now will lengthen their lifespan.
The project will also see the restoration of the bandstand, the current tarmac paths ripped up and replaced with a surface more in keeping with the Grade II-listed gardens, and likewise the crumbling wall facing the Parade will also be rebuilt.
There are 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 project has been funded through a £1million investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund and both Warwick District Council and Friends of the Pump Room Gardens are contributing a further £100,000 each.
Coun Dave Shilton said: “It’s great to see that work is starting. The tree works are just the first step in a project which will benefit the whole community.’
Archie Pitts, chairman of the Friends of the Pump Room Gardens, added: “After the tree works, the riverbank will be replanted with low growing native species. This will create a wildlife corridor through the centre of town.”
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.