A project to return St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle to a community and event hub has won initial Lottery funding.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded a £358,000 grant for the cathedral to work up the details of its £5.8m Common Ground in Sacred Space project.
This will include extending the use and appeal of the cathedral for a wide range of events, functions and activities.
The project idea is that revenues generated would help to preserve and protect the cathedral and give it a sustainable future.
The cathedral now has up to two years to submit a fully developed project proposal before bidding for a further £4.2m HLF award.
Paul Szomoru, head of business tourism at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, speaking exclusively to CN, said: “The funding is fantastic news for the Cathedral and city. The redevelopment not only enhances St Nicholas Cathedral’s architectural beauty, but will transform the venue it into a more flexible space which can cater for a wider range of events and conferences at a greater capacity. Sat alongside Newcastle Castle, and with over 900 years of history, this is the last piece in the redevelopment of Newcastle’s historic heart and further adds to NewcastleGateshead as an inspirational destination for conferences and events.”
Proposals for the restoration include:
- A new nave floor, with moveable seating and under-floor heating to create an open and flexible space
- The exterior setting of the cathedral to be enhanced by landscaping of the Amen Corner area between the church and Milburn House and land to the east currently used as a car park. This would create attractive, public spaces.
The Dean of Newcastle, the Very Reverend Christopher Dalliston, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the National Lottery has given us this support.
“Our project will deliver a sustainable future for Newcastle Cathedral, an incomparable and historically significant building whose full potential is gravely jeopardised by failing infrastructure.
“In partnership with Newcastle’s Medieval Quarter and the wider city, we will capture the cathedral’s historic role within the community, meeting the needs of new and diverse audiences including the vulnerable, residents, and tourists, and reclaiming its role as Common Ground in Sacred Space.”
Adrian Waddell, operations director at Business Improvement District company NE1 Ltd, said: “It is great news that another city centre project has attracted National Lottery funding.”