Matthew Neville

York Minster submits plans to create “world class” Centre of Excellence

Plans to establish the York Minster Precinct as a “world class” campus facility for research, education and training in ancient craft skills have taken a major step forward today.

The Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management is set to bring benefits including continuing the craft of stonemasonry and encouraging global learning and knowledge sharing, as well as being a “shining example” of best practice in managing complex heritage estates.

The plans, designed by architectural practice Tonkin Liu, have been submitted to City of York Council for the development of two sites: The Heritage Quad and The Works and Technology Hub. The £5m fully funded project is being coordinated by the York Minster Fund.

The scheme will provide new facilities for craftspeople, including York Minster’s stonemasons, and house and deliver training in modern techniques and processes to apprentices and students in York and further afield, working with digital facilities alongside the ancient craft skills for which the Stoneyard is renowned.

Existing buildings within the Precinct will be sustainably reordered, repurposed and renewed to provide new workspace and associated facilities, enable greater engagement and interaction with the public around key crafts and trades and allow improved links with education.

The vision for the Centre of Excellence is a key element of the York Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Plan which sets out a policy-led approach to creating a sustainable future for the Minster and its seven hectare estate.

Alex McCallion, director of works and precinct at York Minster, said: “The creation of a Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management will therefore not only enable the preservation and development of the ancient craft skills that have sustained the Minster over the centuries but will also secure the long-term environmental, financial and heritage sustainability of it for future generations to enjoy as we do today.

“It will position York Minster as leading the charge for the preservation of ancient craft skills on the international stage, facilitating knowledge sharing and exchange programmes with partner cathedrals worldwide, including Washington, Milan and Trondheim and will also have immediate economic and tourism benefits for York and the wider region.”

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