Contractor named for £3.5m Coventry Cathedral extension

Coventry Cathedral has appointed a contractor to build its new pavilion annexe as part of a £3.5m fundraising programme.

Harrabin Construction from Coventry has won a tender process for the work which will include moving the Swedish windows by Einar Forseth into the new build from their current position on the outside wall.

The windows will be taken off site for preservation and repair by York Glaziers Trust during the build period.

The annexe will create 12 step-free accessible toilets which will include a disabled facility and separate baby changing facilities, a passenger operated lift to the lower floor where a café is situated and a new education centre which will also be used for community and external events.

The £3.5m scheme has secured £2.2m from the Cultural Capital Investment Fund from Coventry City Council which is a consolidated fund of contributions from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and Coventry City Council as well as over £1m in grants or donations from Allchurches Trust, Laing Family Trusts, Friends of the Cathedral, Eranda Rothschild Foundation, Eveson Charitable Trust, Barbara Whatmore Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, Wolfson Foundation, Glaziers Trust, the Jerusalem Trust, the Armitage Trust and individual donations.

Law firm Wright Hassall has provided free legal advice for the contract.

The project is part of a wider four-phase programme of improvements to prepare the Cathedral for events when Coventry is UK City of Culture in 2021.

The Very Rev’d John Witcombe, Dean of Coventry, said: “The 2021 development project at the Cathedral is a hugely significant moment for us. It will transform the welcome we are able to give people when they visit and we are enormously grateful to all those supporters who are making this possible.”

Helen Peters, board director at the CWLEP leading on culture and tourism, said: “The annexe is the first major physical change to the new Coventry Cathedral since it opened in 1962 and it will enable even more people from all sections of the community to take part in activities and events or look round this magnificent Grade I listed building.

“The Local Growth Fund was launched to boost the economy and support businesses and this extension will provide a major boost to the Cathedral in the short and long-term.”

Councillor Jim O’Boyle of Coventry City Council said: “The Cathedral has an important place in the hearts of local people and this extension is another step in the regeneration of our city.”

The initial demolition work to clear the site began in February 2020 and the main construction work on the annexe started in June following a break as a result of the pandemic. The building is expected to be ready in May 2021.

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