Leicester City Council has given planning permission to the Cathedral’s plan for a renewal and new build project to create a Heritage Learning Centre beside the main building.
In December 2018, a formal application was lodged with the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a grant towards the £11.3m project cost of the Leicester Cathedral Revealed project.
The project will see the restoration of the Cathedral building together with the creation of the new Heritage Learning Centre on the site of the former Song School, which adjoins the Cathedral and is now used mostly for storage.
Plans for the new two-storey stone building include terracotta and glass features, and have already been approved by the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England and the Leicester Conservation Advisory Panel. Historic England raised some issues with some of the design but did not object to the overall plan, and at Leicester City Council Planning Committee meeting on 19 February, the plans were approved by all the councillors except for one, who abstained.
The Cathedral will now work closely with Historic England and other agencies on details of the new building to address matters of detail.
The Dean of Leicester, The Very Revd David Monteith said: “This project will transform what we will be able to do. The restoration of the building will enhance the spiritual and cultural experience of being in the Cathedral. The Heritage Learning Centre will allow us to protect the historic setting of the Cathedral, while engaging with many more communities through exciting interpretation and learning facilities. It will also help us to cater for the increasing numbers of visitors the City has welcomed since the reburial of King Richard III.”
It is hoped the National Lottery Heritage Fund will approve its full grant of £3.3m this spring and then work can start on this transformational project for our Cathedral, serving the people of Leicester and Leicestershire as well as visitors from further afield.
It is expected that contractors might be on site by early in 2020 and the project will be completed in 2022.
[IMAGE: View to the Heritage Learning Centre – Image © vHH and HLF]
For more information on Leicester Cathedral Revealed, click here.