Published: 10:33, 10 June 2021
| Updated: 10:35, 10 June 2021
Securing the future of the iconic-but-broken Leas lift in Folkestone is one step closer to reality.
An application has been made for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which would be used to restore the run down cliff side lift.
The application has been made by the Folkestone Leas Lift Company CIC, a trust which aims to bring the historic venue back to its former glory.
Chair Cathy Beare said: "I’m immensely proud of the work we have all done putting this application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund together, which is quite an achievement.
"The application, backed by a solid business plan, should deliver on the long-term plan to restore the Lift and secure its long-term future."
The Grade II listed Leas Lift, which connects Folkestone town with the beach, was built in 1885 and is a very rare cliff funicular railway.
It is one of only three remaining water-balanced lifts in the UK.
It was closed in 2017 after the Health and Safety Executive determined that a secondary braking system needed to be installed to comply with safety legislation.
Since then, the railway and building have further degraded and were placed on the heritage at risk register by Historic England in October 2019.
An escape room was also opened in Folkestone earlier this year - Leas Lift Lockout - which will help raise funds for its restoration.
The Folkestone Harbour and Seafront Development Company, which is behind the new homes being created close to the Leas Lift, and Folkestone and Hythe District Council, have also committed money towards the project from a section 106 agreement.
James Walker-Osborn, from the CIC, said: "The support from the community has been overwhelming and humbling, every donation and every word of support has helped us get to this stage.
"We wouldn’t be where we currently are without this continuing support."
Ms Beare added: "Our plan will help save this important part of Folkestone’s Heritage.
"At the heart of this project is the development of the skills needed to secure and maintain the Leas Lift in the future along with activities that put the community right at the centre of what we are doing."