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Prison seeks funding


oldprisontoday-half_502_x_240The Cotswolds Conservation Board, the organisation which looks after the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), has submitted a first-round application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help secure the future of the grade II* listed Old Prison at Northleach.

The 18th century Old Prison, owned by Cotswold District Council and due to be put up for sale in the next few weeks, houses the new Escape to the Cotswolds discovery centre, opened in 2010, and the unique Lloyd Baker Rural Life Collection.  It also houses the Board’s offices, with the Board being a tenant of the District Council.

Through the bid for funding from the HLF, the Board is seeking to realise the building's full potential as a centre and resource for the local community and safeguard access to this wonderful building and landmark on the Fosse Way itself.

The application for a total of £1.3m towards a £1.8m project will, if successful, create a vibrant visitor centre at the heart of the Cotswolds.  As well as conserving and improving access to and interpretation of the former Northleach House of Correction and the Lloyd Baker Collection, the new centre will act as a central hub for the Cotswolds AONB helping to deepen understanding and appreciation of the significance of this special landscape through volunteer-led hands-on activities and demonstrations, interactive interpretation and costumed story-telling.  The centre will also become a focus for rural skills training, building on the Board's existing rural skills training programme, and will seek to be a showcase for sustainable energy conservation and production within the context of a historic building.

If successful, this first-round application will lead to the Board being invited to submit a detailed second-round application.  The first-stage decision is expected in January 2012. 

Director of the Cotswolds Conservation Board, Martin Lane said: "This is an exciting and ambitious project which we believe will breathe new life into this important historic building as well as secure the future of both the building and the collection for the public.  Plus, with the initial success of 'Escape' we have a strong base on which to build a centre for the Cotswolds that local communities and visitors to the area can enjoy."

Further details of the HLF application can be viewed at: