A bid to restore a crumbling 170-year-old coach house in to a community hub has received a major boost thanks to Lottery Cash.
The Friends of Hurst Grange Park Coach House Restoration Project is celebrating being awarded £15,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which they hope will kickstart the next phase of the project.
The money will be spent on appointing experts to carrying out an in-depth consultation exercise on future uses of the building.
Members of the public and potential users will be invited to contribute through focus groups and questionnaires.
An appraisal to establish appropriate and sustainable future uses will be produced based on feedback and also a suggested building layout. The work will be carried out over the next three months.
The Chairman of the Coach House Friends, John Fazakerley, said he was “delighted” by the news.
He said: “The building is an important feature of the heritage of Penwortham and we have moved a step closer to giving the Coach House a new lease of life.”
The building, which is owned by South Ribble Borough Council, was used as a parks maintenance depot until 1974 and more recently as a base for the Friends of Hurst Grange Park, but has seen little other use.
It is in need of extensive structural repair, the installation of insulation and heating before it can be put back to regular use.
The Friends have held a number of fund raising events over the past three years, including a buy a brick campaign, which have so far raised over £15,000 towards the cost of restoration.
Initial ideas for the refurbishment included providing a visitor centre with public toilets, a base for the local Neighbourhood Policing Team, a venue for events that is available to hire by the community, a new base for the Friends of Hurst Grange Park and an environmental study space and activity area.
Whatever use the building is eventually put to, the Friends are keen that toilets are provided which will be available to park users when the building is open and that a 1960’s extension is removed to return the Coach House to its ‘as built’ appearance.
The Coach House is all that remains of a once extensive range of buildings called Hurst Grange built in 1850 by William Hulton, a prominent Preston barrister.
In 1936 the estate was purchased by what is now South Ribble Borough Council to create the now Green Flag accredited Hurst Grange Park.