Sydney Gardens in Bath has been awarded a £320,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund’s Parks for People programme, which will lead to the renovation of the play area and new gardens, as well as public events such as art sessions, community archaeology days and outdoor tai chi.

The grant came about as the result of a partnership between Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Parks Team, the Friends of Sydney Gardens, local residents’ groups and the Holburne Museum. The money is the first part of a programme to secure a £3.6 million grant to improve the historic park.

Alongside the renovation of the play area, the money will be used to restore historic buildings, invest in landscaping works and deliver activities designed to create ‘a beautiful and tranquil pleasure garden that achieves a renaissance as a unique, fun and restorative environment for all ages’.

Starting in the spring, a design team will be working with the local community to develop these plans in more detail, with a full application submitted in June 2018.

If successful, this will mean an investment of £3.3 million – a once in a lifetime opportunity for what is thought to be Britain’s only remaining 18th century pleasure garden.

Chairman of the Friends of Sydney Gardens, Jonny East, said, “This is a great example of how the council’s Parks Team, working in partnership with the local community, can attract a substantial amount of external investment to help restore and improve this historically important, and much-loved, park.”

HLF’s Chief Executive Ros Kerslake added, on behalf of HLF and Big Lottery Fund, “Public parks play a vital role in our health and well-being. With this investment from National Lottery players there’s real opportunity for a rejuvenated Sydney Gardens to deliver huge benefits to the whole community.”