£60k funding for town’s prize park

NILA 23-05-12 BE 9 Picture of the week, Ilkestons victoria park.
NILA 23-05-12 BE 9 Picture of the week, Ilkestons victoria park.
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An award-winning park in Ilkeston has won £60,000 of funding towards an ambitious restoration project to secure its future for generations.

Lottery chiefs were so ‘impressed’ with Victoria Park that they granted the cash as part of a first round of funding, which is the first step towards raising a total of £682,400 for the project.

Erewash Borough Council hopes to secure the remaining cash in the second round of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund grants for a complete restoration of the bandstand, pavilion and pergola arch.

Emma Sayer, head of HLF East Midlands, said: “Victoria Park is a wonderful local park with a fascinating social history to tell – ranging from the grittiness of the coal mining industry to the daintiness of lace making.

“We were impressed with the surrounding communities’ enthusiasm for this restoration project and have given our initial support so that plans can now be progressed further in order to secure a full grant at a later stage.”

The restoration work also includes new heritage bedding, improvements to pathways and a new programme of activities and opportunities for townsfolk to volunteer and play an active role in maintaining the park for future generations.

The park’s origins date back to the 19th century and it was officially opened by the then Duke of Rutland in August 1902.

It was the first park in Erewash to win Green Flag status in 2011 and successfully retained the award in 2012, as it joined a list of the best parks in the UK.

Cllr Mike Wallis, lead member for culture and leisure, said he was ‘delighted’: “We are aware of how much Victoria Park means to local residents and we are very excited to be given the opportunity to develop our heritage project for this historic park.”

The authority now two years to submit a detailed plan to be in with a chance of winning the rest of the cash.