|Regeneration within reach for Chiswick House Gardens|
Heritage Lottery Fund awards Trust almost £8 million
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) today announced that it has earmarked £7.9 million as part of a £12.1 million project to restore the gardens at Chiswick House.
The bid, submitted in October 2005, was backed by English Heritage, the London Borough of Hounslow, and a new Trust formed specifically to drive forward the improvements to the Chiswick House Gardens.
The Trust itself is made up of a cross-section of people with a range of expertise, including local residents who all share a common goal: commitment to the well-being and preservation of the site.
This group will eventually unite the management of the House (currently run by English Heritage), and the Gardens, (managed by the London Borough of Hounslow) under a single structure. The London Borough of Hounslow and English Heritage will continue to provide ongoing support and funding.
The result of the Stage 1 decision will allow the Trust to appoint a Head Gardener at Chiswick House Grounds, which will greatly enhance the security and well-being of the park.
The project aims to revitalise and restore the historic gardens in a number of ways. Landscapes will be replanted, miles of paths will be repaired, and access for the many people who visit every year will be enhanced with the provision of improved site information. There are proposals for a new café, education facilities and a play area for children, as well as the restoration of historic buildings such as the conservatory and the Gardens’ many features and statues.
Rupert Hambro, Chairman of the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust, said today “This is a very exciting day for Chiswick House and Gardens. We have the opportunity to do something really special and make this iconic site secure and sustainable for future generations to enjoy. After many years of development, we are delighted to have received approval for the outline plans, but much of the hard work is still to do. We will now be pulling together the detailed proposals for the next stage of the bid, and we will need help and input from local people to do that. We want to make sure the gardens are once again as magical as when they were first laid out nearly 300 years ago, while also creating a public park fit for the wide range of visitors who enjoy it today.”
Cllr John Chatt, executive member for Positive Regeneration, London Borough of Hounslow, said “The council is delighted with this decision by the HLF. The gardens have been a public park since 1929, and have been highly valued by generations of local people. . We are committed to working with residents in the community and moving forward to the next stage of the bid. I’d like to personally thank everyone who has contributed so much time and effort over these last few years.”
Carole Souter, Director of the Heritage Lottery Fund, added "Chiswick House and Gardens is a hugely popular and much-used local landmark. This major boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund will not only help safeguard the future of these beautiful gardens but will also attract many more visitors and volunteers to enjoy them."
Local opinion has been sought by the project team throughout the development of the proposals and will be particularly important as the Stage 2 submission is drawn up. Consultation will be carried out using workshops, tours and questionnaires before the plans are finalised. If successful, the funds could be awarded in Spring 2007.
January 25, 2006