M.P. for Richmond, Rishi Sunak has met with two members of Richmond Old Grammar School’s project team for a tour of the school.
Ian Hepworth, Chair of the Richmondshire Building Preservation Trust (RBPT), which is undertaking the project, and James Gravenor, who is heading up the work to restore and repurpose the building, had the pleasure of showing Mr. Sunak around the school, which has lain empty for the last 7 years.
The RBPT’s plans for the building include community offices, a large hall for use by community groups, clubs and organisations, a café with terrace overlooking the river, a large function hall and a contemporary hostel catering for visitors and providing accommodation for residential courses, which will be run in the revamped building.
Following a tour of the building, Rishi Sunak, said: "It was clear from my visit the potential the structure has to be a focal point for the Richmond community. The building has so many memories for Richmond people who until relatively recently passed through its doors. The ambition of the team working on bringing this much-loved building back to useful life is impressive.” He continued, “I have supported the project from its inception and will continue to do so."
The Old Grammar School team is working with a Round One Heritage Lottery Fund grant, supplemented by a grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund. Due to increased costs caused by inflation and additional work revealed by in depth surveys of the building, the overall costs for its restoration and conversion have risen since the original application was made. In order to put forward a Second Round application to the HLF for £1.8 million the Trust must now raise £840,000 from donations, sponsorship and grant-giving bodies. A quarter of this total has been achieved so far.