Tucked away on the grounds of a Bracknell college is a “hidden gem” historical garden that enthusiasts have worked lovingly to restore for more than 20 years.

But an appeal to Bracknell Forest Council suggests its owners have struggled to raise all the funds they need to maintain the site.

Moor Close Gardens sits on the grounds of Newbold College, behind a building that once belonged to millionaire Charles Birch Crisp.

In 1911, he asked the then-little-known architect Oliver Hill to enlarge the house and build new gardens featuring a curved staircase, pergolas, and pavilions.

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A plan for the gardens’ restoration says they were “lavish and flamboyant,” with “a slate court, a sunken herb garden, a water parterre, a rock garden area on the house terrace, shrubberies and lawns.”

A bridge across a ravine led to “gazebos, pools, a lily pond, seats, and sundials. The whole design, on a series of subtle changes of level, was linked by balustraded-retaining walls and sets of elaborate shallow steps.”

But as Crisp’s riches fell into decline, so did Hill’s gardens. They were first sold to grocers International Stores and then to Newbold College in 1945.

The gardens remained in decline until 2001 when the Seventh-Day Adventist Church was granted planning permission for a church on the college grounds.

Bracknell Forest Council granted it permission on the condition that the college committed to a management plan to maintain and restore the gardens.

Today, the gardens can be visited by appointment and can be hired out for fashion shoots, weddings, exhibitions, and music events. They are now also Grade II listed.

Its management committee says a lot has been achieved, but “there is still a great deal of work to be done”.

But in a new planning application to Bracknell Forest Council, the church has asked for the council to agree the college should spend no more than £700,000 on future works.

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The application says the college is committed to restoring the gardens – and sets out a new plan to do so. But it says while it has raised some funds for additional work “this falls considerably short of what is required to fund the originally agreed obligations.”

The college has looked for new sources of funding – including grants from the National Lottery, but “with this comes considerable uncertainty as to the among of money that could realistically be raised and when.”

Moor Close Gardens’ website says: “Funds for the restoration are welcomed from private donors in order that small specific projects may be undertaken and completed whilst we apply for grants from other sources.”

Newbold College and Moor Close Gardens management group have been contacted for comment.