An ambitious plan to restore the historic Stover Park in Newton Abbot to its former glory is hoping to attract vital funding.
The ten year vision incorporates Devon County Council’s award winning ‘Stover Country Park and Local Nature Reserve’ and the larger surrounding ‘Registered Historic Park and Garden’, known as Stover Park.
Developed in partnership with local organisations, landowners and statutory bodies such as Natural England, the Parkland Plan outlines how the Park will be improved and conserved for the future, including reducing and reversing many of the risks to its heritage.
It also aims to enable greater public access, and promote wider appreciation of the Park as a valuable piece of Devon’s heritage and green infrastructure among residents and visitors.
A bid is now being prepared for the Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Park for People’ grant scheme, which offers between £10,000 and £5 million funding to support the revitalisation of historic parks across the UK.
As part of the process letters of support for conserving the heritage of Stover Park need to be gathered, along with ideas for potential match funding through donations, sponsorship or fund raising.
Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for community and environmental services, said:
“Stover Country Park is one of Devon’s most popular visitor destinations, regularly winning awards for its excellent facilities.
“Over the next few years Newton Abbot will continue to expand with new housing and infrastructure, and we need a planned and sustainable approach to accommodate these changes to ensure our Country Park and the wider historic Stover Park are improved and conserved for the future.
“We have been working with partners such as Stover School and Sibelco to assess the current condition of Stover Park including its landscape and historic buildings, and now have a set of recommendations and plans for the future management of the park and its historic assets that we all support.
“But we also need support from residents, visitors, local community groups, schools and colleges and other local Councils and organisations to ensure we have the best chance possible to protect and conserve the Park and its infrastructure for the future.
“I encourage everyone to get involved and put pen to paper before Monday 22 August in support of this important project. And if you are part of a business, community group or charity who would be able to offer a donation, sponsorship or organise fundraising, please get in touch with one of our rangers at the park.
“If we are successful in securing this funding, together we will be able to preserve the historical integrity of Stover Park for generations to come.”
In 1995 Stover Park became a Grade II registered Historic Park and Garden, and has since been added to the ‘At Risk’ register due to poor state of several historic buildings, fragmented ownership and increasing pressures from visitor numbers and surrounding developments.
The plan aims to address this by restoring the Park’s nationally significant listed buildings and structures, ornamental lake and other watercourses; extending public access; expanding the education and interpretation programme for schools and visitors as well as developing a community engagement plan and establishing an integrated management team.
Another key objective of the plan is to improve the water quality of Stover Lake, which was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1984 because of its impressive collection of plants and freshwater invertebrates.
Since 1998 however the water quality has continued to deteriorate due to the volume and content of sediment on the lake bed.
A pilot exercise carried out in January 2014 to dredge some channels proved successful, with water plants recolonising and increased sightings of wildlife activity. Now the removal of silt is a priority in order to improve the health of the lake for the next 30 years.
Devon County Council will submit the bid for funding to the Heritage Lottery Fund on 31 August 2016.
Trustees of the Fund will meet during December to decide if the application has been successful. If funding is awarded, a 24 month development phase will begin in January 2017, during which further preparatory work will be carried out, with delivery of the eight project areas planned between January 2019 and January 2022.
For further information please, and to download a copy of the bid prospectus please see Stover Park Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Parks for People’ bid Prospectus.
Letters of support and offers of financial support should be sent to: Rangers Office, Stover Country Park, Stover, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ12 6QG or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.