A PROJECT to save Porthleven clock tower and institute for future generations now has £25,500 behind it.

The town council has won National Lottery funding towards the restoration and preservation of the Bickford-Smith Institute.

The £20,700 received from the Heritage Lottery Fund will be added to £2,700 from the Cornwall Council Devolution Fund and just over £2,000 already committed by the town council, to allow councillors to now seek professional advice on securing the building for the future.

The Heritage Lottery grant will cover the cost of looking at the current condition of the building and at how it can best be preserved, including a set of fully costed options for how the building might be restored and sustainably run for the benefit of the community of Porthleven.

It will also look at plans for the future of the snooker club that currently leases the building.

The grant will cover the costs of a full feasibility study, further consultation with the community, setting up a Friends group for the institute and reviewing different ways of attracting major fundraising - with £1 million estimated to be needed overall.

It will also allow for professional support and training for the working party set up to see the project through, along with the appointments of business planners, a quantity surveyor to carry out an initial assessment of the restoration needed and the costs of running of the institute, and architects to commission and oversee surveys on the building's structure, environmental and contamination matters, utilities, flooding, heritage and access.

Porthleven mayor Andrew Wallis said: "This is a very important step in securing the future of the Bickford-Smith Institute. This grant from the Heritage Lottery, together with money from the town and county council, allows us to investigate fully costed possibilities for the future of the building and to consult with our community on all aspects of future use.

"This will give us a very sound base on which to raise the million pounds we estimate is needed to fully restore the building."

The institute is an iconic landmark at Porthleven’s harbour entrance, commissioned by William Bickford-Smith and opened in1884 as a cultural, scientific and literary place of learning dedicated to the good of the town and its residents.

Nerys Watts, head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: "We are delighted to be working with the town council in taking steps to secure the future of this iconic south west building."