A bid for £3.6 million to carry out a full restoration of Delapre Abbey has been made by Northampton Borough Council.
The council revealed detailed plans today to refurbish one of the town’s oldest buildings in advance of the submission of a bid for money from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The council expects to find out if the lottery bid has been successful by November this year.
The leader of the council, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) said, if the money was secured, work would start in August next year with the restoration open to the public in 2016.
Councillor Mackintosh: “This is an exciting moment, with an amazing opportunity to win further funding and kick start the restoration of Delapre Abbey.
“We want to bring that building back into the daily life of the town and to put it on the map as a regional attraction.
“We need to win funding from the lottery fund before we can even make a start and I hope people will get behind the bid and show their support for the future of Delapre Abbey.”
The council’s cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Tim Hadland (Con, Old Duston), who is also a trustee of the Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust, added: “A number of groups have worked closely together to put forward realistic plans that would allow for development in the use of the building as well as a high level of public access.
“Success in this bid is very important to us in safeguarding the future of the abbey and I hope that everyone who has the opportunity, backs the bid.”
The plans would see parts of the main abbey restored and used for functions and public events.
The 18th century stable block and 19th century stable yard would be transformed into areas to attract visitors and raise revenue to support the future of Delapre Abbey.
Tours would also be held at the abbey and the building’s conservatory could be rebuilt. There would also be a new shop created and spaces for small business units.
Even if the funding is awarded to the abbey, there would still be a shortfall of more than £1 million, which the council plans to meet through its own finances and possibly some fundraising with the Friends of Delapre Abbey and the Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust.
In October last year, the council was awarded more than £250,000 of development funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which was spent on the preparation of plans which have been made public.