GLOUCESTER Cathedral has taken the first step in an exciting new development project with the Heritage Lottery Fund agreeing to fund the 11th century building £320,000.

This figure is complemented by a further grant of £70,000 from support group Friends of Gloucester Cathedral and begins phase one of a major 10 year capital project.

Full plans for the project include the creation of a new public square in the Cathedral grounds, conservation of the 15th Century Lady Chapel, provision of a new entrance and welcome area with improvements to access also being made. Entitled “Project Pilgrim Phase One: the Heart of Gloucester” the plans aim to celebrate the Cathedral’s heritage by revealing stories about the people and events which have helped define the significant role it has played in the nation’s history.

This money will allow the Cathedral progress their plans to apply for a full grant of £4 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, who are the largest dedicated funder of UK heritage, investing around £375 million a year into projects.

The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester, said: “We are delighted to have received this support to develop our plans. Project Pilgrim will enhance the impact of a visit to Gloucester Cathedral so that people will be able to connect with its heritage like never before.”

“We hope visitors will want to return again and again” said the Dean.

Gloucester Cathedral now needs to raise nearly £1.5 million in partnership funding to ‘unlock’ the Heritage Lottery Fund money. Gloucester City Council has pledged £50,000 towards this total, with Council leader Paul James stating the necessity of the project.

“The Cathedral is Gloucester’s most important heritage asset and we are thrilled to support their exciting plans” said Mr James.