Plans to safeguard the future of Brighton’s historic Royal Pavilion Garden and restore it to its former glory are back on track.

An updated bid for National Heritage Lottery funding was sent in last month. If successful, it’ll mean work can move forward on progressing plans to improve and enhance the historic garden and apply for a full grant.

The bid has been put together after a previous application was turned down earlier this year.

However, the council was encouraged to re-apply by the Heritage Lottery assessors who noted the heritage importance of the project, the need to improve the garden and praised the community involvement which backed the bid.

Improving and protecting the Royal Pavilion Garden is a key part of the Royal Pavilion Estate project where the council and Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival are working together to reunify the estate and conserve its heritage.

Phase one of the project is underway. The Royal Pavilion Garden is part of phase two.

The Grade ll listed Royal Pavilion Garden was added to the Historic England at Risk Register in October 2017 following concerns about high levels of visitor use, erosion of character and a general deterioration in the sense of history.

The council commissioned a conservation plan in 2018 which assessed risks to the garden’s heritage and provided a detailed plan of action to improve future management and operation, interpretation, community engagement, learning and access. 

The plans include:

  • Improving access to the gardens for people with disabilities and a installing a new ‘Changing Places’ toilet
  • New lighting and a secure boundary to address vandalism and anti-social behaviour
  • Conserving and restoring listed lamp posts and balustrade, flowerbeds, paths, lawns and improving recycling, lighting and seating
  • Overhauling the entrances, installing new gates and signs
  • Creating a new programme of events, activities and volunteering opportunities
  • Improving interpretation with maps and information boards, audio tours and an archival research project

The council is bidding for £214,500 of National Heritage Lottery Funding to undertake the detailed planning needed for a major grant bid for £3.3 million.

Councillor Alan Robins, chair of the council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee said: “The Royal Pavilion Garden is one of our most precious and well-loved public spaces, as well as having a unique history. This project is an opportunity to transform the way residents and visitors engage with its heritage.

“We are excited to see this beautiful garden restored to its former glory, removed  from the Heritage at Rick Register and preserved for future generations.”

The National Heritage Lottery Fund is expected to make a decision in November. If agreed, the council will aim to submit the full bid in March 2021 with work starting in January 2022.

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