Councillors hope a Grade I listed building in Lincoln city centre could be brought back into use after they agreed to seek expressions of interest for the property in Free School Lane.
Greyfriars, which is also a Scheduled Ancient Monument, has been vacant for more than eight years, although it has been used on a temporary basis during that time.
The former museum is currently costing City of Lincoln Council around £4,000 a year to maintain, in addition to repair costs, which last year included £8,000 to resurface the front entrance roof. The building now needs substantial investment to make it suitable for a commercially-viable use.
Councillor Ric Metcalfe, Leader of the city council, said: “Greyfriars is a lovely building tucked away between St Swithins Church and the central library. A former friary, it has a fascinating history but needs significant investment to ensure its future.
“Sadly, it has been empty since it ceased to be used as the city and county museum eight years ago. We want to get this marvellous building back into use. We want - and have a responsibility - to secure its future with an appropriate use in keeping with its character and that of the area.
“We will be able to ensure this through the conditions of sale, our powers as a planning authority and our collaboration with English Heritage.
“Due to the investment needed, the sale is not likely to raise a great deal, but it will save the council repair and maintenance costs while hopefully bringing back into use this wonderful building.”
The council’s Executive agreed the proposed sale at a meeting on Monday, July 13 and officers will soon seek expressions of interest.
A key consideration in assessing bids will be the ability of potential purchasers to carry out repairs and introduce an appropriate commercial use to secure the building’s long-term future. This will be a higher priority than the price.
History of Greyfriars:
- Built as a Franciscan friary in 1237
- Suffered from Henry VIII’s dissolution in the mid-1500s when Lord Monson acquired it and the city council- then the corporation of Lincoln - established a Grammar school there
- In the 1600s it was used as a house of correction under the 1601 Poor Law regime
- In 1907 it became the City and County Museum until 2007