Coventry City Council is set to approve the submission of a Stage Two application to the Heritage Lottery Fund in order to secure a bid for over £1.6million to restore London Road Cemetery.
The Council, in partnership with Historic Coventry Trust, has developed a detailed scheme to restore the Sir Joseph Paxton designed Arboretum Cemetery on the London Road, which is a Grade 1 listed Historic Park and Garden and one of the top five historic cemeteries in the UK, as a visitor attraction, park and education resource.
Coventry City Council’s Cabinet Member for City Services, Cllr Jayne Innes, said: “The restoration of London Road Cemetery has been planned for a long time, and I’m so excited to see the project on the cusp of transforming the Cemetery. It really is one of the city’s hidden gems, and I can’t wait to see what it can become once some of its best assets have been restored and made more accessible to local people and visitors.
She continued: “The grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will enable our partnership team to deliver on the fantastic plans for the space, including opening up the chapels, restoring some of the special monuments and making sure that we are delivering the original vision of its famous designer, Joseph Paxton.”
The project will be delivered in two phases to reinstate elements of the original landscape design. It will include the repair of major features like the Promenade and a number of grave monuments. The project will include community engagement, educational activities and increased volunteer activities to improve future maintenance.
Councillor Innes continued, “Sites like this can play an important role in regeneration so it’s great news that we will be able to invest in a wide range of improvements. The cemetery is much loved by local people, it’s a real asset and if we can get this investment it has a really exciting future.”
If approved, the application will be made on the 28 February 2018 to The Heritage Lottery ‘Parks for People’ for Stage Two funding – the delivery phase. If the application is successful, Heritage Lottery will make an award to the partnership of £1,692,200 in June 2018, enabling restoration works to commence and Phase One of the scheme to be delivered.
Cabinet is also asked to approve a number of contributions from the Council to be used in addition to HLF funds, totalling £212,575.