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►  Opportunity for local firms to get involved in castle grounds restoration works

 

A major £5.5 million regeneration of the Lews Castle grounds in Stornoway could be underway within months despite a funding shortfall.

 

Formal notices advising of the two forthcoming tenders for the main first stage of the revamp are due to be published next week.

 

A £594,000 funding gap has been resolved thanks to an arrangement with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

 

The local authority will become the designated body formally carrying out the building works and thus be able to recover VAT which will cover the financial black hole.

£5.5 million Lews Castle grounds revamp  

15 June 2017

A blueprint has been drawn up to rescue many crumbling historic features in the community-owned Stornoway Trust public park.

 

New facilities will encourage more people to enjoy the spectacular grounds which is hugely popular with walkers, joggers, families and as venues for outdoor summer events.

 

The 270 ha grounds include woods, parkland and gardens around the Lews Castle. The grounds were originally laid out in the 1850’s by Sir James Matheson and have been in community ownership through the Stornoway Trust since 1923.

 

The grounds are an outstanding example of a mid-to-late Victorian ornamental and estate landscape.

 

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is ploughing £3.9 million into the revamp.

 

The council is investing £250,000 on top of extensive project management and preparing successful funding bids for the five year project.

 

Historic Environment Scotland has awarded £250,000 and the Stornoway Trust’s contribution is £321,600.  Volunteers time is valued at £137,600.

 

New jobs including head gardener and a park ranger are included in the scheme in addition to youth opportunities for apprenticeship training in stone masonry and horticulture.

 

Main areas and structures on the priority list for repair or restoration are the Porter’s Lodge and park entrance area, Woodlands Centre area, Shoe Burn Glen, Cuddy Point, the terrace steps in front of the castle, the walls and steps in the former private sunken gardens – including a new feature fountain - and the crumbling sea wall.

 

Works will create junior play facilities, an adventure playground and fitness trails.

 

Also proposed are way-markers and interpretive signage. Seats and shelters, improved lighting and public art are also planned.

 

The Stornoway Trust has appointed a transition director to assist with strategic and business planning of the project.

 

 

Porters Lodge is to be restored

Repairs are required to the seawall