“OUR people and our heritage is of utmost importance to us.”
With these words, Hillingdon Council leader Ray Puddifoot backed community plans for the restoration of parts of Eastcote House Gardens, and the push for lottery cash.
The views of people who attended the consultation that ended last month on where the money should best be spent have been taken on board, and council officers will meet representatives of the Heritage Lottery Fund in December to thrash out the details.
It is unclear yet how much it will cost to restore the historic dovecote and stables, among other things, but the lottery bid, expected in February, will be for about £1million, and the council is prepared to put its hand in its pocket to ensure the project goes ahead.
“If we need to top up the fund to make sure this restoration goes through, we will,” Mr Puddifoot told last week’s council cabinet meeting.
He also praised the Friends of Eastcote House Gardens group for its tireless work.
Thanks to the listening exercise, at which local people’s views were taken into account, a more ambitious scheme to extend the stable block has been shelved for the time being.
Instead, the nearby River Pinn’s banks will be improved to allow children to get to it for supervised activities such as pond dipping, the south wall of the walled garden will be raised and the dovecote will be repaired.
Toilets will be built, and a small tea room might be provided.
Councillor Keith Burrows, cabinet member for planning, said: “We can now move this project forward and we will have this community-focused building.
“It’s been a long time coming and I am pleased that we will get to the stage where we see this opened.”