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Leas Lift in Folkestone: Last day after 132 years

The Leas Lift is to be mothballed from today - as the company which has run the seaside attraction is forced to walk away.

The Leas Lift Community Interest Company (LLCIC), which operates the Leas Lift in Folkestone, will be giving up its licence today.

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

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The Leas Lift
The Leas Lift

In a statement released by business manager Terry Begent earlier this month it said that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has dubbed the lift's braking system "unreliable and prone to failure."

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

The Executive issued an improvement notice with a deadline for work to be completed by March.

VIDEO: End of an era for the Leas Lift

Failure to do so would render the operators of the lift liable to prosecution for breaches of the Health and Safety Act.

But a bid for funding has so far not been successful.

A meeting earlier this month with interested parties saw a more positive future for the Grade II* listed asset.

MP Damian Collins, leader of Shepway District Council (SDC) Cllr David Monk, Phillip Clapham on behalf of the owners Radnor Estate, Paul Hudson from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Peter Bettley, who represents Roger DeHaan, all met up, along with Terry Begent from the LLCIC.

The Leas Lift celebrated its 130th anniversary with a party
The Leas Lift celebrated its 130th anniversary with a party

They agreed that officers at SDC will work to produce a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund so that the new braking system can be installed.

But before this happens a full review of the site will be undertaken so that any potential faults can be accounted for.

Today, the company held a reception for invited guests before parking the carriages mid-track for the last time at midday.

They then shut down the installation and handed the keys back to the owners, the Folkestone Estate.

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