Leamington’s ‘events park’ is set to have a £1 million restoration to bring it back to the standards of its heyday following a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The organisers behind the plans for the Pump Room Gardens, Warwick District Council (WDC), Warwickshire County Council and the Friends of the Pump Room Gardens - were granted £995,656 by the HLF at the end of last week.
Formal planning permission was granted by WDC last year for the bandstand to be taken down and restored as part of the plans, which also include landscaping and drainage but no major alterations to the layout of the open space.
Archie Pitts, chairman of the friends group, said the restoration would be the result of several years of hard work by all those behind the proposals.
He said: “We started in 2008 with the Linden Arches, which took four years to restore, and then alongside that we had a conservation study about the history of the gardens and the prospects for the future and then we started on the full scale project to get the gardens restored.
“This park can hold festivals for thousands of people, you can’t do that in Jephson Garden’s so this is a place for the public to enjoy big events and has been for 200 years.”
The work will start after all the big events such as the Peace Festival, Warwickshire Pride and Leamington Food and Drink Festival have taken place this year and is due to be completed before the ‘festival season’ starts again in 2017.
This means that none of these major events would be affected.
Cllr Michael Doody, chairman of WDC, said: “This proves that if you get a number of interested people together that things can happen.
“With £1 million to be spent it should make a significant difference to the park.
“This is more of a working area than Jephson Gardens so it is important in a different way.
“We have some great green spaces in Leamington which make it what it is and with the improvements being made in this park such as the arches and now this it shows it is moving forward and I want to congratulate everybody who has been involved.
Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White said: “This is a great day to celebrate the tremendous work that people like the Friends of the Pump Room Gardens have put in to putting this proposal forward.
“We are a really creative place and this is a fantastic area for festivals and it contains one of the town’s most iconic monuments.
“We need to show it off in its best light.”