St Albans Cathedral misses out on lottery funding

PUBLISHED: 06:54 22 May 2012

Chapter House, St Albans Abbey.

Chapter House, St Albans Abbey.

Archant

ST ALBANS Cathedral will remain committed to its “visionary development project” despite losing out on vital funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The Abbey learnt last week that the HLF was unable to support its application for major funding for the £11.7 million Alban Project.

But plans to continue with key aspects of the project are already underway.

The project, a culmination of years of research and development, addresses the challenges facing the cathedral such as over-stretched community facilities, limited opportunities to learn about the cathedral’s rich heritage, inadequate physical access and teaching facilities which struggle to meet the needs of visitors.

A new welcome centre, a purpose-built education centre and improve visitor facilities with improved physical access, were all planned but after careful assessment, the HLF was unable to support it.

The Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans Cathedral, said: “We are of course disappointed but our commitment to developing the cathedral is as strong as ever.

“The Alban Project would be a major asset to the city in attracting new visitors and it is essential that the core elements of the project are taken forward.

“Learning and welcome will remain at the heart of our aspiration, along with the upgrading of visitor facilities, ensuring both current and future audiences enjoy all that the cathedral has to offer.”

Carole Souter, chief executive of HLF, said: “We know how important St Albans Cathedral is to the UK’s religious heritage and we were impressed with many elements of this particular bid.

“The annual round of decisions for the Heritage Lottery Fund’s major grants is always over-subscribed and highly competitive meaning it’s impossible to support everything we look at on the day.”

She added: “We will, however, be meeting with the cathedral shortly to discuss the best way forward for their project.”

Work is now focused on exploring how the cathedral’s vision can be taken forward and further consultations are anticipated to be taking place with the local community later this year.


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