Hylands Park in £3.5million Lottto boost

A PROJECT to restore parts of the grounds and outbuildings of Hylands Park near Chelmsford has been awarded more than £3.25 million lottery cash.The grant is the largest given by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to a project in Essex and recognises the work that Chelmsford Borough Council has already done, transforming the once dilapidated Hylands House in Writtle into a beautiful and valuable visitor attraction.

A PROJECT to restore parts of the grounds and outbuildings of Hylands Park near Chelmsford has been awarded more than £3.25 million lottery cash.

The grant is the largest given by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to a project in Essex and recognises the work that Chelmsford Borough Council has already done, transforming the once dilapidated Hylands House in Writtle into a beautiful and valuable visitor attraction.

The next phase of restoration at Hylands will begin next summer and is due to be completed by 2007.

Hylands House, a neo-classical villa, is set in more than 500 acres of landscaped parklands and gardens and the Heritage Lottery Fund money will enable the council to transform huge areas of the site, which include:


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nRestoring the park to the original design by the famous landscape gardener, Humphry Repton

nRecreating the formal pleasure gardens with Regency and Edwardian planting

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nConverting the stable block to a visitor centre, with craft studios, a tearoom, a shop and a display area

nBringing rare Suffolk Punch horses back to Hylands

nRestore Flint Cottage to its original appearance and use it to support events in the park

nBring farm buildings on the estate back into use

nRestore the grand staircase in Hylands House

nProvide extra car parking

Council executive member for arts and entertainment, Christopher Kingsley said: "At a time when so many landmark buildings are being lost, the council has been able to restore this wonderful house and provide a valuable and much loved attraction for borough residents and tourists alike.

"This money will enable us to bring history to life and provide much needed facilities for schools and visitors."

HLF regional manager in the East of England, Robyn Greenblatt, added: "Parks are essential to the ongoing well-being of a community and HLF is dedicated to funding schemes that regenerate these much needed green spaces.

"Hylands Park is a wonderful heritage resource and we are very happy to help develop the site into an outstanding attraction for all visitors. Chelmsford Borough Council has shown real commitment to this project and I look forward to working in partnership with them to make a noticeable difference for Chelmsford."

Humphry Repton was famous for creating views in his landscapes, using trees to frame buildings and other focal points, such as lakes and gardens. Restoring his landscaping will involve relocating some of the non-native trees from the arboretum to Writtle College, where they will be looked after by students. Some trees will have to be removed altogether.

More than 25,000 new native trees will be planted over the next three years and some of the oaks will be grown from the acorns of the park's existing trees.

These plans were designed to meet the wishes of borough residents, and according to independent research carried out on behalf of Chelmsford Borough Council by Marketing Assistance Ltd, 94% of people questioned were in favour of the restoration plans.

Internet link: www.chelmsfordbc.gov.uk

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