The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 10 January 2014

Sun shines on Belleisle thanks to £1.9 million award

The new year has started in spectacular style for Belleisle Park in Ayr, with the announcement that the area has secured funding of over £1.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) - one of only two such awards in Scotland.

The award is the result of a bid prepared and submitted by South Ayrshire Council in partnership with Belleisle Conservatory Limited, supported by the Friends of Belleisle and local community groups. It will now be used to deliver a five-year masterplan for the rejuvenation and restoration of Belleisle Park.

[Pictured: Councillor John McDowall, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainability, Norman McLean chair of Friends of Belleisle and Professor Gordon Wilson from Belleisle Conservatory Limited are pictured with the masterplan for the park.]

In total, Belleisle was awarded £1,938,400 through the Parks for People programme and is among 15 other historic parks and cemeteries across the UK receiving grants.

The masterplan for Belleisle includes: 

The redevelopment of Belleisle stable block, providing a cafe, toilets and further multi-functional space

The refurbishment of Belleisle conservatory

The development of landscaping and further woodland management 

The relocation and upgrading of the play area

Upgrading of the footpath network, improved accessibility, improved park furniture, litter bins & interpretative signage

The development of events and volunteer participation. 

Welcoming the great news, Councillor John McDowall, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainability said: “This really is a sensational start to the new year and will help accelerate our vision to transform the park, developing the landscape, refreshing the buildings and transforming this jewel in our crown.

“In developing the bid proposal, we enjoyed superb support from Belleisle Conservatory Limited, the Friends of Belleisle and local community groups and this success is a real credit to their commitment and their passion for the park.”

Professor Gordon Wilson from Belleisle Conservatory Limited added: “The funding news is a massive boost for everyone connected with Belleisle and allows us to take the next step in delivering the masterplan for the area.

“The conservatory dates from 1879 and sits at the heart of the gardens and woodlands. Our aim is to see it returned to a display centre, a wonderful focal point at the heart of the park, once again helping to contribute to the horticultural displays that made Ayr famous. 

Norman McLean chair of Friends of Belleisle said: “Despite the wintry weather and storms, the sun is shining on Belleisle today and we’re thrilled the HLF has made this award.

“To be one of the two Scottish recipients of this award makes it an extra special feeling and we can look ahead to reinstate the area as a premier park experience - a park for people to come and enjoy its open spaces and all it has to offer.”

Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in Scotland, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to start the new year with good news for Belleisle Park. This much-loved park is set to return to the popularity of its heyday with help from our Parks for People programme. 

“This grants programme has been hugely successful in encouraging many thousands back through park gates by combining people’s pride in the history of their green spaces with the need to provide up-to-date facilities and access. 

“The transformation of Belleisle Park will make a huge difference to the quality of life for the residents of Ayr as well as bringing a new optimism to the town for the year ahead.”

Councillor McDowall concluded: “Through 2014 and beyond, I look forward to working even more closely with the groups to promote and improve Belleisle’s unique qualities, building on these to create a vibrant, long-lasting legacy for future generations of South Ayrshire residents – and for visitors from outwith the area.”

[A set of downloadable photographs taken at this event is available on Flickr - CLICK HERE. Click on any thumbnail image to access larger versions.]

Since 1994, HLF has supported just over 35,000 projects allocating more than £5.5billion across the UK, using money raised through the National Lottery.

HLF aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy – from museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions.

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

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