The Leas Lift has been out of service for four years (Image Matt Rowe)

The future of Folkestone’s Leas Lift is about to be secured as an offer for national lottery heritage funding is launched.

After submitting an initial expression of interest earlier this year, the volunteer-led Folkestone Leas Lift Company CIC board of directors has worked hard behind the scenes to prepare a full application with supporting documentation to help support his candidacy.

Additional funds have been committed both by the District Council and by the Folkestone Harbor Development Company for the regeneration of the elevator.

The Grade II * listed Leas elevator is one of the few water-balanced elevators in the country and will only be the third to operate when it reopens.

It was closed in 2017 after the Health and Safety Executive determined that a secondary brake system needed to be installed to comply with safety legislation.

Since then, the funicular and the building have deteriorated further and were listed on the Heritage in Danger Register by Historic England in October 2019.

Cathy Beare, President of the Folkestone Leas Lift Company, said: “It has been a busy year with the opening of the Leas Lift Café and the opening of the Leas Lift Lockout, both helping fund and supporting our mission of restoring the Leas elevator.

“I am immensely proud of the work we have all done to prepare this application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which is quite an achievement.

“The app, backed by a solid business plan, should adhere to the long-term plan to restore the elevator and secure its long-term future.

“Our plan will help save this important part of Folkestone’s heritage. At the heart of this project is the development of the skills necessary to secure and maintain the Leas Elevator in the future as well as activities that put the community at the center of what we do. “

James Walker-Osborn, also of Leas Lift CIC, added: “The support from the community has been overwhelming and humbling, every donation and word of support has helped us get to this point. We would not be where we are now. without that continued support. “

A spokesperson for Folkestone and Hythe District Council said: “We are delighted with the progress of this project. The Leas Elevator is symbolic of Victorian Folkestone and when restored will be an important asset to the town and the district as a whole. “

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