Ain’t no Mount high enough – Lottery funding boost for the Mount in Fleetwood

Barry Parkinson posted on Aug 1 2018

The Mount, Fleetwood

The Esplanade / Mount Road. Photography – Nick Harrison

Wyre Council is delighted to have been awarded a £2 million grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund to continue its work to revive the Mount Pavilion and Gardens in Fleetwood.

The seaward side was restored last year thanks to a £1m personal donation from Mrs Doreen Lofthouse. This involved work to reinstate the Victorian railings, restore the shelters, repair the pathways and create new rockeries and planting. The council’s first-round application to the Heritage Lottery Fund Parks for People programme was also approved in January 2017 which supported research, planning, and pilot activities in order to prepare a second-round application submitted earlier this year.

Now approved this new grant together with the generous donation from Mrs Lofthouse, will fund the restoration of the garden areas that have yet to be touched including the pavilion and lodge.

The Mount is an iconic structure and a Grade II registered garden designed by the eminent architect and landscape designer Decimus Burton in the 1800s. The pavilion, originally built in 1901 will now be restored and brought back into regular use as an education centre, exhibition space and a function room for public events and receptions. The team working on the project at the council has sent layers of paint from different parts of the building to be analysed to find out what colours to use in the restoration. It was discovered that the original woodwork on the outside of the building was a dark green and the walls were a pale shade of cream, which will now be replicated as part of the scheme.

The lodge building will also be restored. The upper floor will be opened as a tearoom and the lower floors, which are inaccessible at present, will be used as a base for volunteers helping on the grounds and by an artist and scientist who will run activities.

The Mount, as it was

The Mount, as it was

The funding will enable many of the lost landscape features to be replaced and the Mary Hope garden, originally designed in the 1960s for people who were blind, to be rejuvenated for everyone to enjoy. The landscaping work will also include planting schemes for wildlife and new areas of habitats to enhance biodiversity. The views of and from the pavilion will be opened up again by removing a number of pine trees, and new trees will be planted elsewhere in the gardens. A new play area will also be created bringing a mix of play equipment and a play trail to a new location in the gardens. The grant will also fund a Development Officer to oversee a three year programme and engage with residents, schools and local groups.

Councillor David Henderson, Leader of Wyre Council comments ‘This funding is excellent news, it will allow us to continue with the great work we’ve already done at the Mount. The gardens have gone from strength to strength. I’ve seen this project develop since the first phase and I was really pleased to meet with representatives from the Heritage Lottery Fund earlier this year. Throughout the project, the help of Fleetwood Museum, Fleetwood Library and Fleetwood Civic Society has been vital. We couldn’t have hosted our events and undertaken the research without them. We’re all proud to be involved in the redevelopment of this much loved space and look forward to the next part of the restoration.’

Councillor Simon Bridge, Portfolio Holder for Street Scene, Parks and Open Spaces at Wyre Council comments ‘On behalf of Wyre Council I’d like to thank everyone who has helped with the bid – volunteers, those who took part in the consultation surveys and families who took part in the pilot activities. As part of the council’s bid to improve the health and wellbeing of our residents this funding will help to provide a place where people can enjoy being outside and take part in events, as well as creating many more opportunities for volunteering, from helping with planting to assisting with events there will be lots to get involved in.’

Heritage Lottery Fund’s Chief Executive Ros Kerslake, said ‘Parks and open spaces may vary in size, location and design but what they all have in common is the wealth of benefits they deliver to local communities. From economic prosperity and ecological diversity, to personal well-being, parks are essential to the health of the nation. That’s why we have invested a combined £950million of National Lottery funding regenerating locations like The Mount and they remain a priority for us into the future.’

It is anticipated that the restoration work will begin on site in September 2019 and take approximately 12 months to complete, depending on the availability of specialist contractors. Following this, Wyre Council will host a range of activities and there will be a variety of ways for everyone to be involved.

The Mount, Fleetwood

The Mount, Fleetwood. Photography – Nick Harrison