Tim's Council Diary: A Huge Lift for Folkestone

10 Nov 2023
Jim Martin, Anita Jones and Tim Prater in Folkestone Leas Lift car

I've been involved in the Leas Lift, and seen it closed, more than once in my "Folkestone political life". I chaired the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee around 2008 when the then Conservative Council leadership chose to surrender the management and running the lift. We weren't happy about that decision then, and clearly the subsequent long term closure of the lift pending major works has been a huge loss to our area.

But there has been a massive amount going on, and the Folkestone Leas Lift CIC has been working on assessing the site, fundraising, and building a lottery bid to get it back open pretty much since its closure.

And that work just paid off.

Folkestone’s Leas Lift is set to reopen in 2025 after securing £4.8m of support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, meaning the overall fundraising target of £6.6m has been reached.

The Leas Lift funicular in Folkestone is one of only three water-balanced lifts to survive in the UK, and will be restored thanks to National Lottery players. 

The Grade II* Listed at risk Leas Lift will now be brought back into public use with a varied programme of activities to educate, inspire, engage and serve the local community, as well as providing step-free access from the seafront to the town.

This is a huge credit to the Leas Lift CIC, and Folkestone can now look forward to seeing its lift back in 2025.