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'Heart-wrenching' anarchist graffiti scrawled on Leas Lift in Folkestone

By Sean Axtell

“Heart-wrenching” graffiti of anarchist symbols have been scrawled on an iconic landmark, months after it was boarded up.

Armed with spray cans, vandals sullied the Leas Lift on Folkestone sea front with huge anarchist symbols, unintelligible jibberish and the words ‘police state’ over the weekend.

The destruction comes after the lift was closed in January owed to an ‘unsafe’ brake, which would cost £80,000 to replace.

Courtesy Terry Begent

Courtesy: Terry Begent

Terry Begent, chairman of the Leas Lift Community Interest Community (CIC), said: “It is rubbish graffiti painted right the way across the building.

“The reason it was attacked is because the building has now been boarded up, it’s like anywhere, when the owners move out the vandals can move in.

“It starts with a bit of graffiti, then there’s more graffiti, then someone sets fire to it. If someone set fire to it that would be the end of an era.

“When I saw the graffiti it was heart-wrenching.”

Courtesy Terry Begent

Courtesy: Terry Begent

Mr Begent said he believes the Grade II listed building would be better protected if it was occupied, adding the cost of keeping it closed must “cost a fortune.”

 He also questioned why the Radnor Estate, the lift’s owners, and Shepway District Council (SDC) have not updated the public on the lift’s future.

Following roundtable meetings between the Radnor Estate, SDC and MP Damian Collins, it emerged council officers would draw up an £80,000 Heritage Lottery Fund bid in January.

But the authority on Tuesday revealed the funding pledge hasn’t gone ahead, since only the lift owners can apply for funding.

SDC said “the door is open” should the Radnor Estate wish to proceed with the funding application.

Courtesy Twitter Laughing Man

Courtesy: Twitter Laughing Man

Mr Begent continued: “The lift is ingrained deep in the hearts of the people of Folkestone.

“We just want to know what the future holds for it.”

The Radnor Estate was unavailable for comment.

The Leas Lift was mothballed on Friday January 27, as the CIC which ran the seaside attraction was forced to walk away.

It took over its running in 2010, but was unable to front the £80,000 for a new braking system, a task that had to be carried out before March.

The original mechanism at the Lower Sandgate Road site has safely carried more than 35 million passengers in the past 131 years.

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