The company won the “Restoration Award” at the Institution of Civil Engineering (ICE) Awards (Kent and East Sussex branch) 2011 and was highly commended in the Community Engineering category.
This is the second award Crofton has won for its work on the Leas Lift. The ICE award win comes only weeks after the company scooped the “Best Building Structures” award (small firm) at the national ACE Engineering Excellence Awards.
The restoration of the “cliff” lift that carries passengers between the seafront and the promenade was overseen by Crofton in 2010. Originally installed in 1885, it is one of the oldest water lifts in the UK and operates by alternately filling and emptying water tanks, which are fixed beneath the two cars.
The ICE is a registered charity that strives to promote and progress civil engineering. The ICE Engineering Excellence Awards showcase the best civil engineering projects in the region, with the judges rewarding projects that reflect aspects of the ICE’s Global Vision of: ‘Civil Engineers at the heart of society, delivering sustainable development through knowledge, skills and professional expertise.
John Laverty, director of ICE, praised the award winners, saying, “All of the winning projects highlight the important contribution that engineers make to our way of life – from improving transport links and public spaces to protecting public health and defending communities from the risks of living along the coast.”
Mark Taylor, the director at Crofton responsible for the project, said: “Winning two awards for the Leas Lift, and being highly commended in the ICE’s Community Engineering category, because of the lift’s importance to local people, has made us all extremely proud. It was a pleasure working to restore a remarkable piece of engineering that is so important to Folkestone.”
Before Crofton began its work, the Leas Lift was in serious need of refurbishment and restoration. It had been closed in June 2009 after Shepway District Council surrendered its tenancy. The Council had decided that the historic lift was too expensive to continue running, causing widespread local upset.
The Radnor Estate agreed to restore the lift which was reopened last year and is now run by local residents who formed the Leas Lift Community Interest Company - a non profit organisation that manages the attraction as a “living museum” of Victorian engineering. It offers an educational transport link between the town centre and the sea front.
Crofton has offices in Tonbridge, Kent; Newhaven, East Sussex and in London. Smith Woolley Perry was the agent on the project.