LEICESTER Cathedral’s plan to create a heritage learning centre that will enable visitors to find out more about the 2,000 year history of the site is set to be backed by the city and county councils.
Each council is being asked to approve £350,000 in grant funding to the cathedral, to help it to secure additional funding needed to reach its £12.6m target.
The heritage learning centre is part of the Leicester Cathedral Revealed project which began in 2016. Following the discovery and reinterment of King Richard III in the cathedral, visitor numbers to the site have soared and the new centre will provide a much-needed learning and exhibition space where the story of King Richard, the cathedral and Leicester’s rich history can be better told.
The striking new building will help to protect the historic setting of the cathedral and free up the spaces inside for their original purpose.
The project also includes vital works to the interior and exterior of the building including restoration and conservation of the stonework, windows and ceilings and a new stone floor with under floor heating throughout.
Cllr Piara Singh Clair, deputy city mayor for culture, leisure and sport said: “The story of the discovery of King Richard III continues to attract visitors from all around the UK and indeed the world.
“Tourism has always been important to the city and county and as we look to recover from the effects of the pandemic it still has a huge role to play. This heritage centre will enable many more visitors as well as locals to find out more about the rich history of the city and the cathedral’s place within it.”
Nick Rushton, leader of Leicestershire County Council, said: “The cathedral serves city and county, as the reinterment of the King and subsequent events have proved.
“The tourism sector is a significant contributor to the Leicester and Leicestershire economy and the cathedral is at the heart of this, as well as the much wider role it plays in local life.
“I’m pleased that our support will help the cathedral to make this important centre a reality.”
The cathedral has already secured £10.2m in funding from a range of sources including the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF), grant-givers, individual donors and benefactors, and the Diocese.
The county council’s Cabinet will discuss the funding proposal on Tuesday 22 June.
The city council is taking a decision on the funding on 14 June.
It is hoped that work at the cathedral will begin in 2021 and complete in the summer of 2023.
Picture (artist's impression) shows a view of the proposed heritage learning centre from Cathedral Gardens. Credit: van Heyningen & Haward Architects.