Ripon Cathedral pushes ahead with 'transformational' extension plans set to cost £6m
Ripon Cathedral is pressing ahead with plans for its first major extension in over a decade after raising more than half of the £6m needed to get the project underway.
The ancient cathedral - which has a history stretching back almost 14 centuries - is earmarked for a new cafe, shop and education space.
Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson, said the developments are "vital to bring this national treasure into the 21st century".
The cathedral has raised more than £4m and will stage an exhibition on its proposals from the middle of August until the end of September.
It begins on 15 August and visitors will be given the chance to see how areas of the cathedral could be transformed.
Dean Dobson said: “We hope that as many people as possible will come along to the cathedral to see the exhibition and give us their feedback.
“We are very keen to hear what they have to say about this transformational project that will bring a boost for our service to the city and region, as well as the local economy.”
There has been a stone church at the site since 672 and today's Grade I listed building is the fourth to have stood there.
A major restoration was carried out in 1861 after the place of worship was reformed from a minister to a cathedral.
An initial approach has been made to Harrogate Borough Council over the new extension plans, but a planning application has yet to be submitted.
The proposals also include a new rehearsal space for Ripon Choir and some areas of the cathedral could be opened up to the public for the first time in centuries.
A spokesperson for the cathedral said precise details of the extension are still evolving and added it has asked the council if an environmental impact assessment will be required.
Dean Dobson previously said: “As custodians of this fantastic building we are only too aware of the legacy we uphold. We have this ancient history, this wonderful architecture – what we haven’t got are the facilities that people need.
“Each generation has, over 13 centuries, taken on what has been handed to it and made its own contributions. We take none of this for granted and we have a responsibility, in our generation, to make our contribution now.
“Over the last few years it has become increasingly obvious to a growing number of people that the development of Ripon Cathedral is vital as we seek to serve the communities of the region now and in the future.”
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter