Restoration of the historic Coach House in Penwortham's Hurst Grange Park has been given a £12,500 boost from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
South Ribble Borough Council, in partnership with the Friends of Hurst Grange Park Coach House Restoration Project, submitted the grant application for help to restore and improve the building, in order to create a visitor and heritage centre with a range of facilities and information to be open to the public all year round.
The initial award of £12,500 will allow the council and Friends Group develop their plans further to enable them to apply for a full National Lottery grant later this year.
The development phase will cost £47,500 in total with £30,000 contributed by South Ribble Borough Council. The remainder is in-kind contributions from the Friends Group and South Ribble Borough Council.
Councillor Caroline Moon deputy leader and cabinet member for neighbourhoods and streetscene at South Ribble Borough Council, said: “It is great news that funding has been awarded for the first stage of the Hurst Grange Park restoration bid following all the effort put in by the Friends Group and Council Officers.
"It will be good to see the development of a visitor centre and improved facilities at Hurst Grange Park if the second stage bid is successful.”
The council, in partnership with the Friends Group, have been working to raise funds for the restoration and improvement of the historic Coach House for a number of years.
The delivery stage of the restoration project aims to refurbish and improve the Coach House building to allow regular public access for the first time. Plans for the interior include a visitor centre providing information about the area’s history and wildlife, an event space, public toilets and space for a small café.
Although the building is used intermittently by the Friends of Hurst Grange Park and for a number of events each year, repairs to the roof, new windows, provision of a heating system and new flooring are required to make it fit for regular use.
The Council have earmarked £50,000 towards the cost of restoration whilst the Friends of Hurst Grange Park have raised £17,000 to date through events, donations and its ‘Buy a Brick’ appeal.
Hurst Grange was created as the estate of a Lancashire judge who built the large house and laid out the landscaped parkland in 1850.
The estate became a public park in 1938 and although the Grange was demolished at this time, the Coach House and Gate Lodge were retained. Today, the Coach House remains largely in its original form on the exterior, albeit with the once attractive front façade now obscured by a 1960s garage extension.
The Coach House and the Gate Lodge feature on the Penwortham list of important local historic buildings as a reminder of the former grand estate and early development of Penwortham.