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Fundraisers hoping to save lift Leas Lift in Folkestone

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Residents are launching a bid to save Folkestone's abandoned Leas Lift as vandals continue to attack the Grade II listed building.

A week after anarchist symbols and scrawls appeared on the boarded-up lift, yobs with spray cans have attacked the seafront site again.

Graffiti "tags" were emblazoned across hoardings put up since the lift shut earlier this year.

More graffiti has appeared on Folkestone’s Leas Lift
More graffiti has appeared on Folkestone’s Leas Lift

Terry Begent, chairman of the Leas Lift Community Interest Company (CIC), which once ran the lift, said: “I predicted this would happen after the original graffiti turned up, I’m not going to get upset about it. It was inevitable.

“Once the graffiti vandal’s first tag is left untouched, others will follow in quick succession.

“This is what happens when buildings are left closed down.”

For the first time, residents will meet to form a committee in an attempt to get the water lift up and running again.

It was shut in January because of an unsafe brake, which would have cost £80,000 to replace.

Toni Love, 43, who grew up in Folkestone, has teamed up with daughter Phebe, 15, and friend James Wo to help raise the cash.

Terry Begent, chairman of the Leas Lift CIC
Terry Begent, chairman of the Leas Lift CIC

The ex-Folkestone School for Girls pupil said: “Coming from Folkestone originally, it was and still is part of my heritage and I love going on it, although I was scared of it as a kid.

“I was frustrated about people moaning about it getting vandalised, so I thought I’d do it myself, then James came along and we formed the Friends of Folkestone Water Lift Facebook page.”

The public meeting will take place at The Grand, on The Leas, Folkestone, from 2pm on Saturday.

The Folkestone and Hythe Express revealed last week Shepway District Council and the lift's owners, the Radnor Estate, had not applied for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to carry out the necessary work on the lift, despite agreeing to.

Mr Begent said he believes the Grade II listed building would be better protected if it was occupied, adding that it must "cost a fortune" to keep it closed.

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