A £3m bid to help preserve the future of the Abbey Gardens has been unsuccessful. The bid to the Heritage/ Big Lottery Parks for People Programme was one of fifteen to be considered at the national level. Of the 15 considered only 5 projects were selected.
Cllr Sara Mildmay-White, St Edmundsbury Borough Council Cabinet member for Culture and Sport said,
"This is disappointing news, particularly as we received such encouragement to re-apply after our first bid was unsuccessful. I understand that our bid was very strong but there was simply not enough money to go around and others were considered by the board."
The money was to be used to make the management of the Abbey Gardens more sustainable, and would have enabled conservation and repair works to some of the ruins on site, a community archaeological project, relocation of the tennis courts, extension of the public green space into the former Eastgate nursery, re-landscaping of the water garden and bowling green area as well as conservation/improvements along the River Lark corridor and the Crankles.
The Abbey Gardens welcomes over 1 million visitors a year and is a greatly valued amenity locally.
Cllr Mildmay-White added,
"The Gardens have been described as the jewel in the crown of Bury St Edmunds and St Edmundsbury Borough Council is continually seeking opportunities to secure their future"