Stornoway Trust has received initial funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to restore and improve the Lews Castle Grounds. The project aims to restore important historic features, including the formal gardens, improve access, enhance maintenance and provide new facilities that will enable even more people to enjoy this outstanding public park.
A new pedestrian bridge is proposed to improve access between the town centre, castle and grounds. The project will also provide a range of training opportunities and will involve volunteers and local community groups.
Development funding of £195,600 has been awarded to help the Trust and its partners to progress the detailed plans to apply for a full grant for the project.
Murdo Murray, Chairman of the Stornoway Trust said: ‘We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has approved this initial funding. The Castle Grounds is a very special place for local people and also deserve to be known and enjoyed by a wide audience. In addition to restoration and improvement works, this project aims to provide the resources and the expertise we need to maintain a park of this importance for the benefit of the present and future generations. This award highlights the strengths of partnership and great credit must go to all those who have worked quietly but diligently to help achieve this exciting opportunity.’
Angus Campbell, Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said: ‘This funding offers a really exciting prospect for transforming Stornoway by linking the regeneration of the Castle and the Grounds with improvements to the town centre and the waterfront. Joint working is really paying dividends and this award is a real vote of confidence in our shared vision.’
Malcolm Macdonald, Chairman of Stornoway Historical Society said: ‘The whole community will welcome this initiative to restore the Castle Grounds and gardens to the standards of magnificence once seen. For many years this unique asset has been in decline and we look forward to working with the Trust, the Comhairle and other local partners on this important heritage project.’
Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland, said: ‘The Lews Castle Grounds are a hugely important green space for the people of Stornoway and create a dramatic backdrop for the impressive Castle. Today’s initial Heritage Lottery Fund support will mean that major redevelopment plans can get underway so that, when completed, the grounds will be a high-quality resource that local people and visitors alike can enjoy. This project will also complement other HLF investment in the castle and in the town.’
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