dave bennisonDave Bennison, technical officer for Bradford Met, inside the new glasshouse

Cliffe Castle will be restored to its Victorian splendour by the summer.

Work on the £4.5 million restoration of Keighley’s historic park is on track to be completed within months.

A recent progress meeting heard that the ornate iron gates on the Skipton Road entrance are due to be refitted in the next couple of weeks after restoration.

The refurbished Holly Lodge gates on Spring Gardens Lane will be refitted nearer the end of the project when access for contractor’s vehicles will no longer be needed.

Following the fitting of the park’s new 9.5 tonne dome and cupola - which stands 10metres tall - in February, glass roof fitting and sealing is almost complete, allowing work to start on the interior of the buildings.

Wasif Syed, structural design engineer for Cambridge HOK, conceived the glasshouse and the dome, which he fitted with curved glass and automatic roof vents to regulate the temperature.

The Dome House will later be home to a newly planted Norfolk Island Pine Araucaria excelsa and will form part of the glasshouse range which will include a new café and toilets for visitors.

Waterproof pond linings are being fitted and gardeners are getting ready to plant in the new historically accurate flowerbeds.

Bradford Council successfully bid for £3.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s “Parks for People” programme started back in June 2016 to carry out the work.

The project, supported thanks to National Lottery players, will see the restoration of Victorian features, which have long been neglected, such as a fountain and decorative streetlights.

The project has been designed with support from volunteers in the Cliffe Castle Park Conservation Group.

Coun Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, said: “It’s really good to see everything coming together and whole area starting to take shape.

“It will be amazing in the summer when visitors will be able to appreciate both the museum and the park in their full splendour.”

Philip Rushworth, of the Cliffe Castle Park Conservation Group, said: “It is really exciting to be able to see something new every time I visit the Park.”

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