Penwortham park tries its luck for lotto cash

The coach house in Penwortham's Hurst Grange Park could be in line for lottery cash.
The coach house in Penwortham's Hurst Grange Park could be in line for lottery cash.
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The centrepiece of a park in Penwortham could scoop just over £450,000 of lottery cash, if a funding bid for its restoration is successful.

The coach house in Hurst Grange Park has been in need of repair for several years and plans have now been drawn up to transform it and encourage visitors to the park to stay longer.

After a public consultation, the most popular option was one which would see the addition of a meeting place, as well as a tea room and toilet facilities.

The plan also includes adding a glazed canopy over the rear courtyard of the 1850s building and the removal a modern garage extension, which was added in the 1960s and now dominates views of the coach house from across the park.

Welcoming unanimous support for a proposal put before South Ribble Borough Council’s cabinet to apply for Heritage Lottery funding, Member for Community Engagement, Cllr Michael Green, said: “This would potentially attract external investment to support this facility, enhance its use and provide benefits to the residents of Penwortham and the wider South Ribble.”

A report presented to cabinet members revealed that the council and Friends of Hurst Park group are regularly contacted by individuals and organisations hoping to rent the building. But its current condition has limited how much access can be allowed to the public and its use is mostly confined to outdoor activities during the summer.

Members were also advised that the building would need to be sustainable in the long term, via a combination of community and commercial use, such as room hire and a small catering outlet.

The coach house was originally part of the Hurst Grange estate, sited next to the main residence within the park. That property was demolished in the 1930s, but the coach house is deemed so significant that its own demolition was not considered an option during the recent consultation.

Under lottery rules, the council would have to supply match funding of £23,000, totalling 5 percent of the grant, if it were awarded. But the council has already set aside £50,000 to support the park and the Friends of Hurst Grange Park have raised £16,000.

Applications have to be submitted by mid-August, with a decision on the first stage of a two-part bidding process due by the end of the year.