Hanley Park lottery grant is an early Christmas gift
MORE than £400,000 in lottery cash has been secured to help draw up multi-million pound plans for one of Stoke-on-Trent's biggest parks.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council wants to complete a £5.8million makeover of Hanley Park.
It has now secured £420,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund to develop its plans.
The council will be working on the scheme with the Friends of Hanley Park.
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Friends' group chairman Robert Burns, aged 62, said: "This lottery grant is like a big Christmas present for us.
"Hanley Park is iconic for Stoke-on-Trent. We are losing a lot of services and keeping our park is paramount.
"We formed the group to help bring the park back to life and we have been working together to get funding bids together."
Park visitors have welcomed the funding. Pam Shufflebotham, aged 78, of Shelton, said: "It would be nice to see more flowers. The steps up to the pavilion have been broken for over 10 years and the pathways need repairing.
"I would like to see the council improve what is already in the park rather than spend money on new things."
Mother-of-two Nicky Scott, aged 28, from Trent Vale, said: "The plans sound great.
"My kids love the park. We use the play area and feed the ducks so I would welcome any improvement."
It is hoped a detailed lottery bid for the redevelopment will be submitted in 2014.
Possible restoration works include transforming the 19th century park's pavilion, boathouse and lodge buildings, the original formal gardens, ornate terracotta detailing, and the impressive fountain in the Cauldon Grounds.
The council hopes to receive £4.5 million funding for the two-year scheme.
The cash boost comes as Stoke-on-Trent College is developing a £4 million sports centre on the edge of the Cauldon Grounds annex of the park.
City Councillor Andy Platt, cabinet member for green enterprises and clean city, said: "We are thrilled this first-round bid has been successful.
"It is great news for Stoke-on-Trent and the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the park."
Reyahn King, who operates the HLF in the West Midlands, said: "We were really impressed with Stoke-on-Trent City Council's desire to not only restore the park but also work in partnership to get the surrounding community much more involved with the site."