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Funding of £80,000 secured for historic Leas Lift

By Sean Axtell

A new company set up to get the Leas Lift up and running again has secured £80,000 for the project.

The water lift and Grade II listed building shut in January because of an unsafe brake, which would have cost £80,000 to replace.

But now, the Radnor Estate made the major contribution to the new organisation alongside 'significant funding' from the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust.

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The historic Leas Lift is one of the most famous and unique attractions

The new group, dubbed the Folkestone Leas Lift Company (FLLC) said in a statement today: "We would like to thank the team that ran the lift in recent years and we are pleased that both they and representatives of the recently-formed Friends of the Leas Lift are happy to offer their support as we move forward.

"It is clear that there is a strong desire to see the lift re-open and continue well into the future.

"Our job will be to ensure that the sums add up and that we don’t just arrive at a short-term solution that will take us forward to the next crisis."

It added there are 'significant challenges' ahead in upgrading and renewing the lift, with an engineering survey taking place alongside buying the new braking system.

Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins welcomed the news, adding he hopes both carriages will be up and working.

The Leas Lift was put to 'half track' to symbolise its closure in January

"There has been a lot of work going on here behind the scenes - it's good news.

"It is going to be back in service.

"We hope the service will have both of the carriages running."

The group is now preparing a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid to help sustain the project, which in the future could see a new lift alongside the existing track.

The Leas Lift in Folkestone has been rebuilt in Lego

Terry Begent is the chairman of the Leas Lift Community Interest Community (CIC), which once ran the lift.

He said: "This is a cherished part of our heritage and like everyone else will like to see it and running again."

Now, the FLLC applying for registration as a Community Interest Company.

Directors include Cathy Beare, Peter Cheney, Zaw Htut, Alec Keeler, Emma Liddiard, Philip Gearing, and Peter Welsh.

The statement says they bring between them they bring a range of required skills in engineering, marketing, fundraising and finance.

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