£7m works at Scarborough's South Cliff Gardens nearly complete after year long renovations

A major restoration which began at South Cliff Gardens last year is nearly complete.

The works began after Scarborough Council received a £4.6m grant from the National Lottery Community and Heritage funds.

The council contributed £2m and money raised by the South Cliff community and ‘in kind’ contributions enabled the £7.15m project to go ahead.

The works are expected to be completed by the middle of August.

David Auton, South Cliff Community Group, and Adrian Perry, Friends of South Cliff Gardens.

The extensive renovations include “a fully accessible path on the Victorian Cliff running through the gardens, which has been affectionately named ‘The Yellow Brick Road’ because it's a yellow pathway through”, according to Gemma Alexander, South Cliff Gardens Engagement Officer.

They also include a new play area, general refurbishment to signs, railings and footpaths, and repairs and renovations to 13 of the historic shelters. The grade two listed clock tower situated on Esplanade Crescent, at the top of the gardens, has also been repaired and restored.

As part of the renovations, the historic ‘secret’ tunnel underneath the Scarborough Spa Cliff Lift has been reopened, connecting both sides of the gardens again.

Gemma said: “There is an accessible path that has been opened up underneath the Scarborough Spa Cliff Lift, which will for the first time in generations unite the north and south of the gardens, allowing people to try to travel quite easily through, rather than having to climb up or down to get through them.”

The new community hub which has been built inside the gardens.

The historic steps, which are believed to have been built by Joseph Paxton, are also being renovated and a new block of toilets is being installed.

A new community hub is also being built within the gardens, and it will have multiple functions, as well as a polytunnel and solar panels fitted to it.

Gemma said: “It will house the gardening team who will take care of the gardens, and it also has a community room, which can be used by anybody in the community who wants to do anything; workshops, projects, school groups. Really the sky's the limit how we can use it.

“The building itself has been named ‘Beeforth’s Hive’, which has been named after George Beeforth. He used to live across the road, and he was the person who built the original rose garden so it has a nice historical angle.”

The South Cliff Gardens have been able to be renovated due to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, as well as the fundraising efforts of the local community.

Gemma added, said: “At the moment the South Cliff Gardens are undergoing a major renovation, thanks to a four and a half million pound grant from National Lottery heritage funding community fund.

“This came on the back of a huge fundraising drive from our local community groups who raised 120,000 pounds in two weeks to get this project started.”

The community groups included Friends of South Cliff Gardens and South Cliff Community Group, and they were also helped by members of the South Cliff community.

David Auton, South Cliff Community Group, said: “The big thing is that the community feels that it has been involved, is involved and wants to be involved for the future, because this isn't about a Victorian garden being restored. It's about a commitment to the future as well”