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
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
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
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
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.