Green light for Bradbourne Lakes improvements after council secures National Lottery funding | Sevenoaks District Council

Green light for Bradbourne Lakes improvements after council secures National Lottery funding

Published: Tuesday, 7th May 2024

Sevenoaks District Council has successfully applied for a £1.6 million grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund towards major improvements at Bradbourne Lakes in Sevenoaks.

The Council submitted a bid for its ‘Bradbourne Re-bourne’ project, the biggest overhaul of the Lakes since they were built nearly 300 years ago.

The five ornamental lakes date back to 1740 and formed part of the Bradbourne Estate. Water from the lakes feeds the River Darent, one of a handful of ecologically important chalk streams in the country.

Over the years, the Council and community have maintained the much-loved park, including new fencing, gates and benches. But, it is now in need of major investment to restore the interconnected lakes, paths and facilities and to make the park fit for the 21st century.

The £1.6 million of National Lottery funding, together with £502,000 secured from housing developers, will pay for the project that will start in 2025. The improvements are expected to take about three years.

The Lakes will be drained and restored using reclaimed and locally sourced materials. Sluices and leaks will be fixed.

Green spaces will be planted with wildflowers. Silt will be removed and reused to form new reedbeds and areas for vegetation, improving biodiversity. This will also improve water quality, supporting wildlife in the River Darent.

Paths will be improved and a new natural play area with benches, eco-friendly toilets and homes for bats and birds will be installed.

The Kent Wildlife Trust, Mind and Historic England’s rejuvenate project will run activities to promote conservation, protect the heritage and improve residents’ mental health.

Cllr Margot McArthur, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Cleaner and Greener, says: “Bradbourne Lakes are a jewel in the heart of the community, so I am very excited about this project. The National Lottery grant means we can really push on with our ambitious £2.1 million Bradbourne Re-bourne plans.

“We have been aware for some time that the Lakes could be so much better. A build-up of silt has impacted on wildlife, water quality and limits some activities, such as model boating. Paths are uneven making the site difficult for some.

“The project will make this site more accessible to all. The other changes will support nature, including new trees and hedges, helping to do our bit to tackle climate change.

“I look forward to the Kent Wildlife Trust, Historic England, South East Rivers Trust and Mind delivering exciting activities, promoting the Lake’s rich history and running sessions that encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to support nature and the historic environment.

“I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to the Bradbourne Lakes Residents’ Association who have given up so much of their time to contribute to our plans. We look forward to working with them to deliver this exciting project.”

The Council employed leisure experts, Land Use Consultants, to seek the views and priorities of visitors, the Bradbourne Residents’ Association and the wider community on the future of the Lakes.

The public wanted action to desilt the lakes and repair the lake edges, repair broken structures and the paths, cut back overgrown vegetation and make changes to support wildlife along with other improvements.

Based on the community’s priorities, Land Use Consultants wrote a detailed vision for the site, which was the basis of the ‘Bradbourne Re-bourne’ project.

The £1.6 million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund is subject to a detailed Delivery application being submitted.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

As the largest dedicated funder of the UK’s heritage, The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s vision is for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future as set out in its strategic plan, Heritage 2033.

Over the next ten years, the Heritage Fund aims to invest £3.6 billion raised for good causes by National Lottery players to bring about benefits for people, places and the natural environment.

The Heritage Fund helps protect, transform and share the things from the past that people care about, from popular museums and historic places, our natural environment and fragile species, to the languages and cultural traditions that celebrate who we are.

The Heritage Fund is passionate about heritage and committed to driving innovation and collaboration to make a positive difference to people’s lives today, while leaving a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy.