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Lottery boost for Walton Hall restoration

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Cllr Kate Hannon

EXCITING plans for the transformation  and restoration of part of Warrington’s Walton Hall and Gardens have moved a step closer thanks to a winning bid for initial support from the National Lottery via the  Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The borough council worked with partners Myerscough College, Walton Lea Partnership and the Friends of Walton Estate on the winning bid which includes plans to restore the historic conservatory and stable buildings and transform the old buildings into a dedicated learning centre.
The stable yard, once occupied by Lady Daresbury’s prized Kerry cattle, will become classrooms and offices, with the historic conservatory and vinery used as teaching, growing and display space.
Subjects taught at the new learning centre will include horticulture and animal care, with students carrying out project work on the Walton
Estate and in the Children’s Zoo as part of their course.
Walton Lea Partnership’s work will be carried out side-by-side with the College, allowing people of all ages and abilities to learn and thrive together. The project also includes a schools “model garden” that will allow children from Warrington schools to learn how to grow their own plants and vegetables.
An important part of the project will be to re-open the conservatory area to visitors. Part of the main conservatory will be a public space where visitors can learn about the horticultural heritage of the site and see development and training work being undertaken.
Cllr Kate Hannon said: “We have worked very hard with our partners over the past year to bring forward this project vision, which continues our ongoing work to restore the Walton Estate. With Heritage Lottery Fund support, we will now be able to restore the grand conservatories and beautiful buildings to their former glory and setting within the gardens. Even better, we will be able to dedicate these buildings to a new
useful life providing facilities for young people and disabled adults, inspiring a whole new generation.”
As part of the project, a programme of events and activities will be planned that will aim to connect visitors to the popular gardens to the heritage and history of the site.
Volunteer group “Friends of Walton Estate” will play a major role in the transformation and in public engagement.

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