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Leas Lift repair bill to cost £500,000

Revamping the historic Leas Lift will cost £500,000.

But the popular attraction won’t be ready for the summer, it has emerged.

The Folkestone Leas Lift Company Community Interest Group (FLLC) also said it hopes to "keep the lift open long into the future".

The Leas Lift - put at 'half track' to symbolise closure
The Leas Lift - put at 'half track' to symbolise closure

Peter Cheney, the group’s chairman, said in a statement: “The scale of the work and the fundraising needed is quite considerable and will take some time to complete.

“Although there will be disappointment that the lift will not be in operation during the coming season, safety is paramount.

“Once we have completed this process our plans will be designed to keep the lift open long into the future.”

To help raise the £500,000, which includes operating the lift in its first year, FLLC is preparing a Heritage Lottery Fund bid to help sustain the project.

Architect Philip Gearing
Architect Philip Gearing

Mr Cheney added: “We are very grateful to our supporters, including the Radnor Estate and The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust who have donated the funds that were needed to bring us to this point.”

The Leas Lift, which is Grade II* listed, is one of the few remaining water balanced lifts in the country.

It was closed in 2017 after the Health and Safety Executive determined a secondary braking system needed to be installed to comply with legislation.

Now a website has been launched providing updates on the repairs.

It features a never seen before video with director Philip Gearing giving a tour of the lift’s 'engine room' and water tank.

After outlining a number of faults, damp and rust for example, he appeals publicly for funding.

“Like our Victorian forefathers we want to be really ambitious here and I think you can see by the state of the building works we need your help,” he says.

No timescale has yet been set for the reopening and the website can be seen via leaslift.co.uk

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