Lottery grant of pounds 6m for Tower

THE TOWER of London, home of the Crown Jewels and one of the country's busiest tourist attractions, is to receive a lottery grant of nearly pounds 6m.

The money will be used to improve the area around the site. Visitors currently have to walk through an ugly concrete underpass or cross a busy road lined with kiosks to reach the world heritage site.

But the pounds 14.7m scheme- for which the rest of the funding is already in place - will involve laying paths to improve access for disabled people and pedestrianising the area to the front of the Tower to restore the views from Tower Hill towards the Thames. It will also include a new education centre and improved ticket arrangements.

The Heritage Lottery Fund announced yesterday that it had awarded an initial grant of pounds 405,000 to pay for development of the plans and pounds 5.5m when they are complete.

Bob Hill, the project director for the Tower of London, said he was "really pleased" about the grant. "For some years people have been bothered about the siting of the tower and the amount of detritus that is around the entrance to it, which is not appropriate for a world heritage site... the whole scheme will make a big difference to the way the Tower is perceived."

The work is scheduled to finish in 2002.