The Horton Gardens Project is moving into its next phase, following a successful bid for support from Epsom & Ewell’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Fund and a success in getting through to the second stage of the Your Fund Surrey grant scheme.
Epsom & Ewell Borough Council has pledged £49,995 towards the regeneration of the disused grounds subject to the remaining funds being raised elsewhere.
Our charity has also applied for £120,000 from Your Fund Surrey, managed by Surrey County Council (SCC). Please express your support for our SCC grant application by adding a comment to the SCC Have Your Say funding page.
The project will transform the site surrounding the award-winning new arts centre, into a natural landscaped green space for everyone to enjoy.
The 11,000 m2 gardens are currently in a poor state, with uneven ground, collapsed disused tunnels, a tangle of brambles and weeds and a crumbling concrete ‘road to nowhere’ cutting through the site.
As well as making the grounds safe, the plan for development includes new trees, planting, seating and the creation of paths, so that The Horton’s grounds can be accessed by all.
The Horton’s manager Maria Reeves said: “In developing The Horton as a creative place for the community, our vision is not just for the building itself – it extends to the whole site. We want The Horton Gardens to be a safe place to enjoy views of the heritage setting and interact with nature. Drawing on its history as a place of refuge for those experiencing mental stress or illness, we want visitors of all ages to feel inspired and rejuvenated through outdoor creative and wellbeing activities too.”
The green landscape was a very important element in the ethos behind the building of Epsom’s asylums more than 100 years ago. The benefits of walking to take in the clean air were prescribed as part of the patients’ regular routines.
Local landscape architect Sian Kelly and Guarda landscape architecture practice donated their services to The Horton in developing an exciting initial concept for a natural garden. The creation of lawns and wildflower meadow shapes will offer spaces to sit and reflect. Native hedges around the perimeter will attract wildlife. And new paths will provide access to all, winding through the site into sheltered glades , new seating areas and spaces for outdoor creative activities .
Sian explained: “The Horton is such an important local project. I was pleased to be involved. Our design concept protects the mature trees and enhances the setting around the former chapel, connecting it with the adjoining parkland landscape and improving biodiversity.”
Funds raised for The Horton Gardens Project will contribute to the cost of landscaping works, installing seating, planting new trees, plants and flowers, and supporting volunteers who want to join in maintaining the garden, developing new skills and making friends. We are in discussion with other local organisations to develop projects that can make further use of the space such as creating a small kitchen garden for the cafe, and unique creative play areas using natural resources.
Thanks to Toyota and Tesco who have made contributions towards this work, and to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for funding specific elements in preparation for landscaping. Thanks also to those who have made private donations so far.
To make an individual donation to The Horton Gardens Project, please visit our Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) fundraising page.
If your company would like to support this project, please email: [email protected].