From Bath Chronicle
A £19.3 million project to transform Bath Abbey is to receive vital cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Footprint project, which will make the abbey fit for the 21st century, has been awarded an initial £389,000 development fund with hopes a further £10 million could soon follow.
To unlock the £10 million leaders at the abbey have two years to secure an additional £7 million from other sources as well as submit a more detailed business case and plans to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Footprint project aims to carry out essential repairs to the abbey’s collapsing floor, install a new eco-friendly heating system using Bath’s hot springs as a source of energy and enlarge capacity by creating a new underground visitor area, meeting rooms, toilets and a refectory.
Rector of Bath Abbey, Edward Mason, said: “This is great news for the abbey as well as the city of Bath and everyone who has put so much time and effort into this. The abbey has been at the centre of the Bath community for over 1,200 years. Footprint will make the abbey fit for purpose and the changes will make it possible for current and future generations to use, understand and fully enjoy Bath Abbey. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, we are a huge step closer to achieving this.”
The Footprint project’s appeal director, Laura Brown, said the next two years would be busy.
“The essential groundwork is already completed: we’ve been granted planning and listed building consent by B&NES and we’ve already seen £2 million of investment, so together with the Heritage Lottery Fund’s support, we are in a very strong position. Now of course the really hard but potentially very exciting work starts. There are certainly big challenges ahead but the Heritage Lottery Fund’s decision is the best news we could have hoped for and makes the project a tangible reality.”
Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, Nerys Watts, said the abbey’s history made it an obvious project to support.
“Our initial support for the essential capital work plans, collections care and the use of sustainable energy will bring the abbey into the 21st century, enabling people from Bath and further afield to enjoy this special place for many more years to come.”
Bath Abbey will launch an official Footprint fundraising appeal later in the year.
For more information about the scheme, visit http://www.bathabbey.org/footprint