Cliffe Castle Lottery Bid

Tue, 2 Jul 2013

The windfall means that by early 2015 the grounds will be restored to their Victorian splendour, with features including a new iron palm house, cafe terrace and re-built animal pens.

Yesterday Bradford Council was told that its bid for £3.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s “Parks for People” pot was successful. The authority has now pledged a further £1 million towards the project, spread over five years.

As well as the major physical improvements there will be new jobs created, with the Council planning to hire more maintenance staff and gardeners, and more educational events held on site.

Work starts in April 2014, and lasts for a year. By then the park will have seen over £5 million of investment, including the new play area that opened last month and the refurbishment ofCliffeCastleMuseum. The museum is due to reopen on July 27.

The work to the grounds, recently approved by planning officers, also include new glass houses, a vinery, redesigned garden and stage area, a maze and a “dig for victory” wartime themed garden that will be used by visiting school groups.

Victorian features that have long since been neglected, such as a fountain and decorative streetlights, will be restored to working condition. The project had been designed with help from the Cliffe Castle Park Conservation Group.

Coun Andrew Thornton, executive member for environment and sport, said: "This is great news for Keighley and the whole of theBradforddistrict. TheCliffeCastleproject will complement the restoration of the museum, recreating and rejuvenating a marvellous asset for everyone to enjoy.

"A great deal of hard work has gone into this bid and its success is a reflection of that effort. The project will create something really special which will delight visitors for many years to come.”

Created by mill owner Henry Isaac Butterfield in the 1870s,CliffeCastleand its grounds were donated to the people of Keighley in the 1940s, with the mansion becoming a museum.

Town councillor Pauline Rogan, whose ward includes the park, said: “It shows that the Lottery people recognise Keighley’s history and heritage. The park is really important to the town, it’s great for families and is an important community area. It is close to a lot of family houses, so it is a positive step.”

Carole Souter, chief executive of the Lottery fund, said: "We're delighted to be able to provide this much needed support for Cliffe Castle Park, when it could not be more needed. Many public parks are really suffering in the current economic climate.”