THE heritage restoration project at the Mere at Ellesmere has hit the jackpot with a £1.1m lottery windfall.

The Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund have awarded £1,133,000 under the Parks for People programme which aims to restore and regenerate public parks and


Cllr Ann Hartley, who chairs the Mere Committee, said: “We’re all very excited and pleased with the news. It will make 2008 an action packed year with buildings being restored, gardens enhanced and new staff on board to run

events and activities.”

Town mayor Cllr Geoff Elner added: “Ellesmere Town Council is extremely pleased to hear that the Lottery Board have confirmed the £1.1m grant towards the project.

“It’s a significant amount of money which will allow

the project to enhance the Boathouse, Cremorne Gardens and Mere frontage, to commence.

“It will be so very good to see these long awaited projects

progress over the next few months.

“It’s an exciting time for Ellesmere and we thank the lottery people for their generosity and foresight in awarding us this grant.”

Local people and visitors will benefit from the exciting project which will take off in 2008.

The much loved gardens and historic buildings will be

restored to their former glory. The Boathouse Restaurant will be extended to include a visitor information centre and a new waterside terrace will be added.

There will also be lots of opportunity to learn about the heritage of the park such as the fact that it forms part of an internationally important and rare landscape known as the Meres and Mosses created in the last Ice Age.

The Cremorne Gardens with their exotic trees and walkways was created by the wealth from canals.

The new Boathouse ‘centre’ will include a display of local wildlife and heritage interest.

Events and activities will be run in the park throughout the year. There will also be activities for local school

children exploring the wildlife of the Mere.

There will the opportunities for anyone with an interest in the park to get involved and learn new skills.

A ‘Friends of the Mere’ group will be set up so people can learn about wildlife, horticultural skills or how to run

guided walks and talks.

There will also be many environmental benefits. The Boathouse Restaurant incorporates innovative designs to minimise its carbon footprint.

This includes a water source heat pump which will allow the building to be powered from the heat energy in the Mere. There will also be solar panels and rain water harvesting.

The wildlife will benefit by creating wetland planting areas around the Mere edge which will allow native plants to flourish such as reeds and yellow flag iris.

This in turn will benefit birds such reed warblers and

little grebes and provide the perfect habitat for dragon flies.

The total budget for the project is over £2m.