Plans for a £16 million redevelopment at Lincoln Cathedral have been backed by an initial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Work can now begin on the project, titled Lincoln Cathedral Connected, which includes the creation of a brand-new interpretation centre, restaurant and gift shop designed to bring further visitors to the city.
HLF announced that it has awarded the proposal a £900,000 grant to allow the project to start.
A further £11.3 million has been earmarked for the project but another application to HLF will need to be made to release it.
The project will build on the £22 million investment in the Lincoln Castle Revealed scheme, which was completed on April 1.
As well as renovating old and constructing new buildings to create classrooms and an exhibition space, the project will involve extensive landscaping to the west and north of the Cathedral to create new outdoor spaces.
This will open up areas, like the Dean’s Green, to the public for the first time in decades.
Lincoln Cathedral Connected will also allow visitors unprecedented access to the Cathedral’s collections of archaeological artefacts, treasures, manuscripts and sculpture.
New exhibitions and a varied programme of lectures, tours, digital guides and workshops will be offered to encourage schools, young people, families and adult learners to visit.
The team behind the bid believe the work will result in an extra 125,000 visitors a year, bringing in an additional estimated profit of £500,000 to the cathedral alone.
The project will create a number of jobs and volunteering opportunities, as well as providing training for staff and volunteers.
It will also make a vital financial contribution to the conservation of the cathedral’s fabric, which costs around £1.6million to maintain each year.
Philip Buckler, Dean of Lincoln said: “We are delighted the Heritage Lottery Fund is backing the project and are eager to get started.
“We are thrilled at the prospect of bringing the history and work of the Cathedral to life in a fresh way, and providing better facilities for our visitors to enjoy.”
Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “Lincoln Cathedral is undoubtedly one of Europe’s finest medieval cathedrals, a testament to the architectural ingenuity and craftsmanship of the ordinary people who built it nearly 1000 years ago.
“The Heritage Lottery Fund’s investment will help to address the urgent repairs needed and unlock the story and symbolism of this historic place of worship.”
Lincoln’s Member of Parliament, Karl McCartney MP, added: “I was delighted to support, back in November 2014, Lincoln Cathedral’s successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Lincoln Cathedral Connected project.
“This project is a sequel to our previously successful Lincoln Castle Revealed bid, and I firmly believe it will upgrade Lincoln Cathedral’s offer to visitors to match that of Lincoln’s beautiful Castle.
“I congratulate all at our Cathedral on what is another fantastic day for Lincoln as we continue to work together to increase the tourist industry for both my City of Lincoln Constituency and the County of Lincolnshire.”