A MASSIVE £200,000 restoration and refurbishment programme is planned for the borough's most prominent landmark.

The council are putting together a bid to carry out work on Peel Tower.

Proposals include housing a new visitor facility and a base for the National Trust, who will manage the building and the surrounding moorland, within the Tower. The monument itself will have the top sealed and weather-proofed together with other structural repairs.

Town Hall bosses will submit their proposals, including one for National Lottery funds, by Christmas. They hope to attract around £105,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £70,000 from the Pilsworth Environmental Company, £10,000 from the National Trust and £20,000 will come from the council's own budget.

If the bid is successful, the first major works programme ever planned for the Tower will start next spring.

The ambitous project will also seek to improve the access up to and across the moors with the Tower providing toilet facilities and information about paths and points of interest on the moors.

Peel Tower was built in 1852 by public subscription in memory of Bury's most famous son, Sir Robert Peel, popular for repealing the Corn Laws in 1846. It stands 124ft high on top of Holcombe Hill, and at an elevation of 1,100ft giving views over Manchester, Cheshire and North Wales.

Coun Barry Theckston who along with other Ramsbottom councillors is keeping his fingers crossed the bid is a success, said: "Peel Tower is a wonderful place to visit, and is an important part of Bury's heritage.

"If funding is successful, the monument will provide enjoyment for visitors for the next hundred years."

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