Coventry Cathedral plans historic Pavilion extension - with fundraising drive - The Coventry Observer

13th Aug, 2022

Coventry Cathedral plans historic Pavilion extension - with fundraising drive

Editorial Correspondent 2nd Jul, 2019 Updated: 2nd Jul, 2019

COVENTRY Cathedral is planning its first extension since it opened in 1962 and has launched a fundraising drive to make it possible.

The ambitious plans for the ‘Cathedral Pavilion’ have been inspired by Sir Basil Spence’s original proposals for the unbuilt Christian Service Centre at the building – which attracts over 300,000 visitors from across the world each year.

Planning permission has been granted for a new education space, a larger café and new toilets.

The Cathedrals’ Fabric Commission for England and Coventry City Council gave the go-ahead.

The new facilities will be accessible directly from the main level of the Cathedral Nave.

And a passenger-operated lift to access the lower level gallery and link to the café and Cathedral Nave are also planned.

The new Cathedral Pavilion is phase one of a four-phase project as part of the work at the Grade I listed Coventry Cathedral in time for the city being UK City of Culture in 2021.

A fundraising drive to raise a total of £3.5million needed to carry out all the plans has now been launched.

So far £772,000 has already been secured from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and £1.45million from other funders.

The Cathedral Dean, the Very Rev John Witcombe, said this exciting scheme would improve accessibility for wheelchair users and upgrade facilities for visitors and school pupils.

He said: “I am delighted that we are preparing to make our unique building fully welcoming and accessible to increased numbers of visitors in preparation for the celebrations of 2021 and beyond.

“These very necessary developments mark a new stage in our history, as this is the first major building project since the new Cathedral was opened in 1962.

“We will be seeking support from partners to enable us to take the project forward, and to fulfil its full potential in readiness for the role the Cathedral will be expected to play at the heart of the City of Culture.

“The works are transformational and necessary to position the Cathedral as a major social, cultural and community hub for the city as well as creating a modern, flexible and accessible space offering a warm welcome to all.”

Minister for Local Growth Jake Berry MP said: “We’re committed to boosting economic growth across the Midlands Engine and rebalancing the economy so that it works for everyone.

“That is why I am really pleased to see £772,000 from the Government’s Local Growth Fund helping to make these exciting plans for the Cathedral a reality. With new facilities and improved access, the plans will improve the visitor experience for the local community and tourists alike which is particularly important as Coventry prepares to celebrate being UK City of Culture in 2021.”

Businesses or individuals interested in supporting the project are urged to contact Matt Feeley, Coventry Cathedral’s Fundraising Manager, on 02476 521226 or email matt.feeley@coventrycathedral.org.uk

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