Tourist attraction latest bid to save The Lawn complex
The Sir Joseph Banks Conservatory in Lincoln could be transformed into a world class tourist attraction under a new plan to save The Lawn complex.
A community consortium looks set to forge a vision for the entire site which would "draw visitors from across the globe".
Ideas for The Lawn and grounds, poised to go on sale for £1 million, may include a health spa, heritage centre, shops and cafes.
And the run-down conservatory – named after the pioneering scientist who scoured the world for strange and wonderful plants in the 1700s – would be extended to link into the Dawber garden.
Get hi lites or low lites and a cut & blowdry with Hannah or Daniel between 10th and 14th December for only £40.00 please contact the salon for more details, just let us know its with this voucher.
Terms: terms and conditions apply and limited spaces
Contact: 01522 305178
Valid until: Saturday, December 14 2013
The Horncastle-based Sir Joseph Banks Society, whose patron is Sir David Attenborough, is calling for site owner the City of Lincoln Council to register The Lawn as an "asset of community value" under the Localism Act 2011.
This would halt council plans to put it on the market as a result of spiralling costs and give the group six months to form a consortium, complete a feasibility study and bid.
The transformation is expected to cost "several million pounds" over five years, possibly financed by the private sector, heritage grants and "philanthropist funding".
Paul Scott, honorary secretary of society, which is hosting an exhibition at The Collection next year, said: "Our overall aim is to retain the complex as a community asset.
"There is no doubt the city council has only carried out basic maintenance on the site generally over the last few years.
"The main buildings are capable of being put into use almost immediately and tenants could be sought to generate income from day one.
"The conservatory however is in a dire state and the city council as custodians have completely failed to maintain the asset.
"It is likely the conservatory – which has to be bigger – would have to close to be extended, re-clad in suitable modern materials, with new ventilation and heating systems together with new soil and plants.
"We would envisage including the Dawber garden as an extension to the conservatory creating a Banks garden/conservatory and arboretum visitor attraction and amenity together with shops and cafés.
"When people can walk through the castle for free and exit West Gate it's going to be a much better prospect from a tourism point of view."
The council rejected businessman Jonathan Pass's £1 million offer – the only offer in 11 months – in July 2012 – and a failed tender process for the main building.
Jaclyn Gibson, assistant director for business development and finance at the council, said: "The council has received a request from the Sir Joseph Banks Society that The Lawn be placed on the register of assets of community value. We have sent a nomination form to the society for completion.
"Once this is completed and returned, the council will assess whether The Lawn meets the criteria for inclusion on the list."