Richard III: Leicester Cathedral £11.3m plans approved

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Leicester Cathedral plansImage source, Van Heyningen/Haward Architects
Image caption,
The extension would cost the cathedral £11.3m

Controversial plans to extend the cathedral where King Richard III was interred have been approved.

The £11.3m proposals at Leicester Cathedral include an extension for a learning centre to accommodate increasing visitor numbers.

Historic England said the plans did not make a "positive contribution to the local character" of the area.

However, the Dean of Leicester said the existing building was "far from adequate for demand".

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Members of the public queue to view the coffin of King Richard III at Leicester Cathedral

The Very Reverend David Monteith, who backed the scheme, said: "We're going to restore and reorder the inside of the existing building and we're going to create a new building on the site of the old song school.

"It will provide space for educational rooms, exhibitions to tell the story of Leicester and the cathedral."

Following the 2015 reburial of Richard III, whose remains were found beneath a Leicester car park, visitor numbers have swelled to 140,000 from 25,000 in 2013.

With the extension, the cathedral expects the numbers to increase again by about 30%, claiming it could mean a £17m annual contribution to the city's economy.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The coffin containing the remains of King Richard III is carried to Leicester Cathedral in 2015

Historic England expressed concerns with some elements of the design, stating in a letter "the proposals will cause harm to the significance of the cathedral, and do not make a positive contribution to the local character and distinctiveness of this area of Leicester".

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
A statue of King Richard III outside Leicester Cathedral

Richard Gill, from Leicester Conservation Advisory Panel, said it was concerned the roof was too "abrupt" and whether it would relate to the current buildings.

Neither body objected to the plans, however.

Leicester City Council approved the proposals on Tuesday.

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