The Folkestone Leas Lift applies for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund
The iconic Leas Lift in Folkestone has applied for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to secure its future. After submitting an initial expression of interest earlier this year, the volunteer-led board of the Folkestone Leas Lift Company CIC have been working hard behind the scenes putting together a comprehensive application with supporting documents to help support their bid.
Cathy Beare, Chair of the Folkestone Leas Lift Company CIC said, “It’s been a busy year with both the Leas Lift Café and the Leas Lift Lockout opening, both contributing funding and supporting our mission to restore the Leas Lift. I’m immensely proud of the work we have all done putting this application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund together which is quite an achievement. The application, backed by a solid business plan, should deliver on the long-term plan to restore the Lift and secure its long-term future.”
James Walker-Osborn from the CIC continued, “The support from the community has been overwhelming and humbling, every donation and every word of support has helped us get to this stage. We wouldn’t be where we currently are without this continuing support”
The Leas Lift, which is Grade II* listed, is one of the few remaining water-balanced lifts in the country and will be only the third to be in operation when it reopens. It was closed in 2017 after the Health and Safety Executive determined that a secondary braking system needed to be installed to comply with safety legislation. Since then, the funicular railway and building have further degraded and were placed on the heritage at risk register by Historic England in October 2019.
A council spokesperson said, “We’re delighted with the progress of this project. The Leas Lift is symbolic of Victorian Folkestone and once restored will be an important asset for the town and district as a whole.
The Folkestone Harbour Development Company and Folkestone & Hythe District Council have committed money towards the project from a section 106 agreement.
Cathy Beare concluded, “Our plan will help save this important part of Folkestone’s Heritage. At the heart of this project is the development of the skills needed to secure and maintain the Leas Lift in the future along with activities that put the community right at the centre of what we are doing."