A Victorian water-powered lift on the Kent coast has been closed after the local Shepway council deemed it too expensive to run.
The Grade II-listed Leas Lift on cliffs at Folkestone carried passengers for the last time on 30th June when the council’s lease ran out.
The lift was built in 1885 making it the oldest water-balanced cliff lift in England. However Shepway Council said it was running at a loss with costs of £90,000 a year and earnings of only £30,000 and the cost of maintenance was also going up. According to the council, the number of people using the lift had dropped considerably since the Sunday market on the Folkestone seafront ended.
A spokesman for the owner, Radnor Estates, said it wanted to reopen the lift.
“It is the estate’s wish to see the lift continue operating.”
“Had the decision to end the lease not been taken [that] would have placed onerous and significant financial obligations on the council,” it said in a statement.”
“We will continue to offer all the support we can to individuals or groups who feel they can contribute to the lift’s future.”
There was drama on the final day of running as two people got stuck in the Leas Lift carriage. A rescuer abseiled down the cliff to assist the pair, who were later rescued in front of onlookers. The lift service was resumed for the remainder of its final day.
BBC News Kent
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