THE restoration of Walton Hall and Gardens could be given a massive boost if plans for lottery funding come good.

Warrington Borough Council’s executive board has agreed to go for £3.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund with the council also putting up £2 million in match funding if successful.

The money would be used to help renovate the glasshouses and indoor riding centre among other projects.

Clr Kate Hannon, executive member for leisure, community and culture told the meeting on Monday: “Walton Hall and Gardens has played a significant part in the lives of people in Warrington.

“Whilst the hall and gardens are in very good condition the external buildings are in a bad state of repair.

“It’s been acknowledged by Warrington Borough Council and the Friends of Walton Hall group and other parties it needs a significant amount of money spent on it.

“The council has spent £2 million on the hall toilets and the heritage yard with the cafe.

“An application of funding will be made to the Heritage Lottery Fund.”

The meeting heard how the extra £2 million from the council coffers would help to bolster its bid and if the application was turned down the council’s cash would not be taken.

Council leader Clr Terry O’Neill praised the project and its supporters: “When we took over we were confident Walton Hall would remain in our hands, free to use.

“This recognises there needs to be some improvement in the sites.

“It will become one of the jewels in the crown and it is much loved by the people of Warrington.

“I would like to thank the Friends who are an exceptional bunch of people who give up their time to help.

“So many parks in our communities benefit from these friends groups.”

The bid process will start with the application in May and the council expects to find out if it has secured funding by 2015 with the building work finished by 2018 if successful.