Work on the restoration of the much-loved South Cliff Gardens in Scarborough, jointly funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund, starts this week.
The restoration project aims to preserve the gardens’ unique heritage and improve them in a way that will reconnect them with today’s residents and visitors, in the same way that the original gardens did more than one hundred years ago.
Scarborough Borough Council has appointed Hull-based civil engineering company, PBS Construction Ltd, as the principle contractor to deliver the restoration.
Phase 1 of the major capital works starting this month will include the construction of the new community building, which local people have affectionately named ‘Beeforth’s Hive’ after George Lord Beeforth who was instrumental in shaping the gardens. Works on the building are due to be complete in November.
The restoration of the recently listed and historically significant Tugwell shelter and octagonal shelter below the putting green have also been included and prioritised in the first phase of works.
Phase two works will start in June and include ground drainage, further shelter works and the works to the new accessible toilet block in the family hub space adjacent to the Clock Café.
Phase three includes the restoration of the Clock Tower, Italian steps and further shelter works, which will be completed in November this year.
Finally, phase four includes the eagerly awaited reopening of the tunnel under the cliff lift, construction of the new innovative play area, restoration of the popular Italian Gardens and planting installations.
The whole project is due to be completed in April 2022 when the local community group is looking forward to hosting an opening event.
The council was successfully awarded a grant of £4,665,700 towards the cost of the project by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Community Fund as part of their Parks for People joint initiative, and has itself contributed £2,041,000. This was added to money generously raised by the local South Cliff community and ‘in kind’ contributions to complete the funding of the £7.158m project.
Cllr Tony Randerson, Scarborough Borough Council Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Cllr Jim Grieve, Scarborough Borough Council Cabinet Member for Quality of Life, said:
“We are delighted that work to restore these wonderful heritage gardens, which hold a very special place in the hearts of generations of residents and visitors, gets underway this week.
“Together with our previous multi-million scheme to stabilise the cliffs, this exciting project will reignite people’s love for the gardens and make them more accessible for all.
“New facilities will sit sensitively alongside restored heritage features, which will ensure the gardens’ importance in Scarborough’s history is kept alive and relevant for many more decades to come.”
Adrian Perry, Friends of South Cliff Gardens, said:
“In 2012 when the Friends of South Cliff Gardens started out on the journey to restore the gardens we had no idea of the complexity of the task that lay ahead.
“Nobody could have foreseen the difficulties created by the pandemic, which served to further extend the preparatory process. So it is with relief that finally the finishing post is within sight and the next year will see many of our dreams become a reality.”
David Auton, Chair of the South Cliff Community Group, said:
“Members of the South Cliff Community group and all local residents and visitors will be delighted to hear that works on the South Cliff Gardens are at last about to start.
After many months of uncertainty in difficult times, this news will shine a light for everyone.
“We will all take enormous pleasure watching the various phases, in the knowledge that the efforts we put in during the fund raising stages have created what is truly a community based project.
“These gardens are going to give many years of pleasure to so many residents and visitors and will leave generations with very happy memories.”
PBS Construction Ltd has experience of delivering similar coastal schemes. It has recently completed public realm improvements in Bridlington and is currently completing a second phase of public realm works in Cleethorpes.
PBS Chairman, Pete Smurthwaite, said:
“We are delighted to have been awarded this very prestigious contract in these difficult times, which gives us certainty of work for our staff for the next 12 months.
“As a company we want to engage with the local community and there will be opportunities for local businesses and people to be involved with the scheme.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Scarborough Borough Council for awarding this contract to our company.”
(Photo credit – David Chalmers)