A scheduled monument in Lincoln could become a centre for community activities under a proposal going before councillors later this month.
At a meeting on Monday, October 26 Members of the council’s Executive will be asked to approve the start of negotiations on a lease of Greyfriars, in Free School Lane, to the Lincoln Diocese.
St Swithin’s are exploring the funding of the project with the HLF, to invest in the former museum to secure its future and to build on the work it is doing at St Swithin’s Church, which is next door.
Revd Jim Prestwood, priest in charge of St Swithin’s, said: “Greyfriars is ideally located next door to St Swithin’s, from where we are already operating a series of community activities, including youth projects, work with young families and a clothes bank. There are also plans for parenting courses and homelessness projects.
“We would like to rejuvenate the area by maintaining the heritage of both buildings and increasing engagement with the local area, making sure we can meet the needs of people who live nearby.
“If successful, we will be applying for Heritage Lottery Funding to help improve the building.”
Greyfriars has been vacant for more than eight years, although it has been used on a temporary basis during that time.
Mark Wheater, Property Services Manager at City of Lincoln Council, said: “Our priority is to find an appropriate use for this building, sympathetic to its status and heritage. The scheme proposed by St Swithin’s would bring many benefits, not least enabling the property to become a hub of community activity.
“This is the ideal use given that the planning constraints associated with a scheduled monument and historic building which would limit alternative commercial uses.
“We’re confident the Lincoln Diocese has the ability and experience to secure the funding needed to repair and maintain the building.”
Members agreed to market Greyfriars in July in order to save the annual £4,000 running costs. Leasing it would save the council around £750,000 which is needed to make Greyfriars fit for purpose, relieving the pressure on the budget to repair and maintain other assets.