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A plan to restore Radipole Park and Gardens has received a major boost after securing initial National Lottery support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund.

It was announced yesterday (14th) that an application for first round funding has been approved. The application for a development grant was made by the Friends of Radipole Park and Gardens and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council.

The £78,000 development grant means a Masterplan to improve the park and gardens can now be drawn-up.

This plan is likely to include a new café, toilets, a bog garden, pond, wildlife area, a water feature in the children’s play area and a drainage system to tackle flooding in the playing fields. It will also cover improving the path network, upgrading the car park surfacing, fencing the tennis courts and improving the multi-use games area and basketball courts.

Cllr Kate Wheller, Community Facilities Briefholder at Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said: “This is great news. I am delighted that we have taken the first step to making sure future generations can continue to enjoy Radipole.

“The park and gardens are at the heart of Weymouth and people have enjoyed them for nearly a hundred years. However, without further investment they could easily fall into disrepair and their future could be jeopardised.

“It’s particularly encouraging that this bid is a joint effort between the Friends of Radipole Park and Gardens and the borough council, as it reinforces how successful we can be when we work together. I fully support the project and sincerely hope it achieves a full National Lottery grant.”

Once the Masterplan to improve Radipole has been drawn-up, it will be submitted, along with a Conservation, Biodiversity and Management Plan, to the HLF and Big Lottery Fund for the second round funding application. It is expected that this will be assessed in December 2019. If it succeeds then the work could begin in 2020.

Mike Goulden, Chair of the Friends of Radipole Park and Gardens said: “This is fantastic news.  Our ultimate aim is to save Radipole Park and Gardens from premature destruction caused by storm damage in 2012 and 2014.

“Alongside the heritage restoration works there will be a programme of community engagement to rediscover and document the ‘hidden heritage’ of the park and gardens. The project will reconnect local people with their park, explore and celebrate the park’s hidden heritage and help to create a new enthusiasm for becoming involved in its future development.

“We still have a way to go to achieve full funding but, for the time being, we will revel in the success of the development grant and, with good support from our Heritage Lottery Fund Grants Officer, we will hopefully be able to enjoy the park and gardens for generations to come.”

More information about the Friends of Radipole is available