Naze Tower handed ‘lifeline’ after securing £30k in government funding
Vital reconstruction work at the Naze Tower on the Essex coast has been given the green light after more than £30,000 in government funding was secured for the scheme.
The landmark, near Walton-on-the-Naze, has not been able to generate an income for several months after the coronavirus lockdown kept visitors away.
But the Grade II-listed tower’s bosses applied for a share of a £103million pot from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund and were delighted to secure a sum of £32,800.
Michelle Nye-Browne, co-director of the Naze Tower, described the funding as a “lifeline” after a poor year.
The Naze Tower, known as a symbol of Walton-on-the-Naze, dates back to 1720 and has had numerous uses over time.
Its current owners completed a full revamp of the tower and opened it to the public in 2004 - with it remaining a popular tourist attraction ever since.
Visitors frequently enjoy far-reaching views from the top, with the built-in art gallery and museum also drawing a significant number of people every year.
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But the Covid-19 crisis forced the attraction to close for the first time in 16 years - and it has not yet reopened partly due to the difficulties in enforcing social distancing.
The government grant is likely to see the tower reopen in the new year, with the tower’s management working with Tendring District Council on the plans for the revamp.
The Naze Tower was one of 445 heritage organisations to split a pot of £103million to allow them to continue operating and protect jobs after the pandemic devastated the tourism industry.
Ms Nye-Browne said: “We are really pleased that our application was successful. 2020 has been an incredibly tough year for us.
“It is the first time it has been closed since 2004 even whilst it was scaffolded for renovation and repointing in 2015-16 we stayed open to the public.
“This grant provides the support we urgently needed to keep us afloat and enable us to reopen in March 2021.
“It will be an exciting and emotional day when we reopen our doors and the public can once again enjoy this historic landmark and the stunning coastal views from the top.”