Nearly £4 million has been secured to bring new life to Lews Castle Grounds by restoring historic sites and creating new facilities.
A grant of £3.9 million has been announced for the Stornoway Trust from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which will be spent creating adventure play areas in the much-loved grounds; improving access through environmental improvements and vital works to revitalise sites such as the Porter’s Lodge, the Boatman’s Tower and Cuddy Point.
Other projects noted in the regeneration plans are works at Castle Terrace and Sunken Garden, including the installation of a fountain.
The Lews Castle Grounds Regeneration Group have been meeting for some time and this grant will now allow the plans to be taken forward in a project which will complement the ongoing redevelopment of Lews Castle and the Stornoway Townscape Heritage Initiative, which have both been part-funded by the HLF.
Iain Maciver, Factor of Stornoway Trust said: “This exciting news offers the Trust an opportunity to manage the restoration and regeneration of an outstanding asset.
“We are indebted to HLF for allowing us to further progress our vision for the revitalisation of our wonderful legacy.”
News of the major funding injection was welcomed by the Comhairle.
A spokesperson said: “Congratulations to Stornoway Trust on this award which marks a significant investment by HLF in the Outer Hebrides.
“The HLF recognises the heritage value of the Castle Grounds, their unique social and public value and the economic potential of regenerating the Lews Castle and the Grounds together.”
They added: “The Castle Ground project complements the major work that has been undertaken on the restoration of Lews Castle and the development of the new Museum and Archive.
“The Trust and the Comhairle will continue to work in partnership, as part of a co-ordinated and concerted strategy for the benefit of the community.”
Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland said: “Our parks, and the historic features in them, are a wonderful legacy from our ancestors.
“They are enjoyed by all ages and are often a community’s only green space in which to relax away from the pressures of daily life.
“Using funds raised through the National Lottery, HLF is able to protect these precious places helping make a difference to the qualify of life for millions of Scots.”