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Spanning over 1.4 hectares, St Leonard Gardens have been admired for their horticultural excellence for many years. Originally founded in 1828 as the centre piece of James Burton’s new town, the gardens are Grade II listed in recognition of their national importance.
Having slipped in to gradual decline, The Heritage Lottery Fund provided a much needed lifeline in the form of a £1m grant to Hastings Borough Council to restore the garden infrastructure, including external and internal railings and walkways, walls, steps, litter and dog bins. The project also involved replanting flower and shrub borders and removal of trees to open up obscured views.
Landscape Architect Philip Masters drew up the restoration and management plans and contractors English Landscapes were appointed to carry out the restoration of the gardens to their former 19th Century glory.
The project included the re-design of perimeter railings to ensure they were updated to meet modern health and safety requirements but still in keeping with their surroundings.
Alpha Rail has previously worked on a number of prestigious parks including Dorchester Gardens, Battersea Park in Wandsworth (winner of a Civic Trust Award), Roundhay Park in Leeds and Handsworth Park in Birmingham and were appointed to manufacture and supply new galvanised steel railings to surround the lake, lawned areas and entire garden perimeter.
Instead of the original “spiked” finish, Alpha Rail manufactured a more bespoke “acorn” shaped finial which became a feature used throughout the railings to give a much more aesthetically pleasing design and make the area safer for children to visit.
"The railings have made a huge difference to the park and to local people. An important part of the renovation was to ensure that the plants, water areas and other features were protected, which is the reason chose high quality metal railings and gates from a bespoke metalwork specialist like Alpha Rail. The new acorn design chosen for the finials is already proving popular and we have received lots of positive feedback from local residents and visitors to the area."- Peter Mead, Amenities Manager, Hastings Borough Council