The National Trust says that it is hugely disappointed to learn that they have not been awarded a first round pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant that would see the important local landmark repaired.
A crucial step, it would have given money for detailed plans to repair the monument and allowed submission of a final bid to unlock significant funding for the repair project. The Trust says it will now take time to consider its next move.
Helen Sharp, Project Manager, says: ‘This is clearly a big setback for the project and we will work with the Heritage Lottery Fund to understand if there is an option to reapply.
‘We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those people who have contributed to get us to this point. We simply wouldn’t have got this far without working together. Whatever happens next, we have built strong relationships with the local community and want to continue to work together.
‘We were seeking a grant from the HLF that would have funded more than half of the £4m project. The HLF is the biggest funder of heritage projects in the country and one of only a couple of funders able to support projects at this level. Therefore filling the gap from elsewhere would be extremely challenging. The National Trust is an independent charity that looks after many special places. It has a £1bn backlog of conservation works that it needs to tackle in the next ten years and central funds available to support projects such as Wellington are extremely limited so we need to look elsewhere for support.’
The Trust will now need to take some time and consider options and next steps and will get back in touch in due course.
Rebecca Pow MP for Taunton Deane has been a huge supporter of the project and commented: ‘It is disappointing that the application for HLF funding has not been successful. I shall be working with the National Trust team and the excellent local champions to plan how to move this project forward. With the £1million funding committed from the LIBOR fund we have a sound base on which to build.’
The monument is not only Wellington’s own memorial to the Duke of Wellington and his victory at the Battle of Waterloo but is also a landmark for many, including travellers on the M5.
At 175 feet, it is the tallest three-sided obelisk in the world. It was funded through public subscription with the foundation stone being laid in 1817 and was finally finished in 1853 after more than three decades of building work.