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Tourism: £500,000 uphill struggle for Folkestone Leas Lift to get back into business

Contributed by editor on Feb 12, 2018 - 06:30 PM

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Directors of the Folkestone Leas Lift Company CIC have announced details of the progress that has been made since the new group was formed in September 2017.


An engineering survey, commissioned using funds donated by the Folkestone Estate and The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, has identified initial work that needs to be carried out to repair the lift and ensure that it is compliant with appropriate legislation.

 


The cost of these works, including operations for the first year, is estimated at £500,000, with a significant proportion to be spent on 'upfront' repairs.

The group has also prepared a business plan to identify potential routes forward.

Chair of the group Peter Cheney said: “The first step towards re-opening the lift has been to identify exactly what we need to do by way of repairs and establish how much this will cost. Now that this has been established we need to raise the necessary capital so that this can happen.”

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 that a secondary breaking system needed to be installed to comply with safety legislation.

Mr Cheney continued: “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, and we must comply rigidly with all relevant legislation. Once we have completed this process our plans will be designed to keep the lift open long into the future.”

The Directors of the Community Interest Company (CIC) bring a range of skills and experience including engineering, marketing and finance and the focus during the coming months will be on preparing fundraising plans, including identifying potential partners and sponsors, and on developing channels of communication that will help keep supporters up to date.

Anyone wishing to contact the CIC to help or show support should get in touch via the new website www.leaslift.co.uk

 


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. We are also pleased to have engaged with the Friends of the Leas Lift who have expressed their support for our mission. We are keen to work with them and other groups to develop ways in which the public can offer practical support for this unique example of Folkestone’s heritage.”

 

 

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