The project to redevelop Burnham-On-Sea Marine Cove gardens has been given a massive boost today (Monday, July 5th) with the news that it is has been awarded £344,200 of National Lottery funding.

Sedgemoor District Council told that it has been successful in being awarded the cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the vandalism-hit public gardens on Burnham seafront.

The news comes after several years of work by members and officers at Sedgemoor District Council, the Friends of Marine Cove Gardens, and Burnham and Highbridge Town Council, which has pledged £14,500 towards the project.

The two-stage process for applying for the money included writing a bid, setting up a Friends of Marine Cove Gardens group, and consultating on preservation to ensure the designs were fully acceptable.

Cllr Ann Bown, Portfolio holder for Health and Wellbeing, told “We are absolutely over the moon about this, especially as Burnham on Sea has taken a few blows recently with the loss of Civic Pride. It just goes to show that with dogged determination and a long-term, well thought out plan, we can achieve many things with our partners. We hope work will start in January 2011 and it is estimated to be completed by August 2011.”

The project originally started in June 2008 with the development of a Round One funding application bid which was submitted in March 2009. The Heritage Lottery Fund then made an announcement in June 2009 when it awarded the development costs. This in turn allowed the council to submit its Round Two application in February 2010 – which has utlimately been successful.

Nerys Watts, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, added: “Our parks provide important shared greenspaces in our towns and cities. Thanks to our investment, work to restore Marine Cove Gardens can now begin, halting the recent decline, and ensuring that the gardens can be enjoyed by local people from across the community.”

Marine Cove is tucked behind Burnham on Sea’s Victorian Esplanade and its original timber and brick shelters, raised and walled flowerbeds, pond and formal grassed lawns are a perfect place to relax.

The gardens officially opened to the public in 1927 and its central feature is an Art Deco-style goldfish pond. Today, the gardens are still laid out in their original style. The park was originally inspired by the Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll designed garden at nearby Hestercombe.

The gardens have declined in recent years, been subjected to acts of vandalism, and at present have no dedicated staff.

The restoration plans include reinstating the original lions head fountain and pool and the restoration of the sundial, cherub, sunken gardens and flower beds.

Local people will be able to get involved through a range of training opportunities and several events will be held throughout the year.

Measures will be taken to tackle any anti-social behaviour and Sedgemoor District Council will be recruiting a part-time community gardener, once restored.

“Sedgemoor District Council thanks the Heritage Lottery Fund, Burnham and Highbridge Town Council, Viridor Credits Environmental Company, local residents, organisations, schools and businesses who have supported the project, as well as the Friends of Marine Cove Gardens for their volunteer time, help and assistance which contributed to the restoration bid being successful,” added a Sedgemoor spokesman.


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