The historic Delapre Abbey building in Northampton has been awarded a £3.6 million lottery grant to preserve and restore many of its main buildings.
The Heritage Lottery fund announced today that Northampton Borough Council’s application for the grant had been successful - and the council has pledged to invest a further £1.34 million in the listed building.
The project involves rebuilding the conservatory and opening the south wing for events and public access; restoring the 18th century stable block into a new visitor and education centre, shop and exhibition space, and restoring the Billiard Room and converting it into a restaurant and cafe.
Further investment will come from trusts, donations, a public appeal and volunteer time.
Bill Wright, chair of the Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust said: “This is fantastic news, and is a real boost to the work being done to bring more and more of this important building back into use. Over a number of years many people have been working hard to preserve and restore the abbey, and the progress we have made so far has been thanks to their efforts.
“The abbey is a much loved part of Northampton, and when refurbished will become an important regional attraction.”
Nicola Hedges, chair of the Friends of Delapre Abbey, said: “This year has been great for Delapre Abbey, we have seen so many projects progressing and the events we have organised have brought many more visitors into the park and grounds. Today’s news means we can continue to build on our successes and help more people discover what a wonderful historical asset the abbey is.”
Council leader, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) said: “Every year thousands of people visit Delapre Abbey and explore the grounds. The building is unique and part of our town’s rich heritage so it is important we invest in protecting and developing this asset for future generations to enjoy.
“Our successful bid has secured the funding to transform the abbey and its surroundings, improving this key heritage site for Northampton and the wider community.”
Vanessa Harbar, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said: “Delapre Abbey is one of the most important and iconic heritage assets in Northampton and its popularity goes without saying.
“We are delighted the council’s plans are now set to transform the future of the site, restoring and finally opening up the building and its unique history to the wider public.”