Compton Verney gallery and gardens near Kineton has passed the first hurdle towards earning a £2.5 million grant towards a restoration project.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has given initial support for the project, which aims to preserve, restore and celebrate its ‘Capability’ Brown-designed park, which includes a rare, Brown-designed and Grade I listed chapel.
Development funding of £179,656 has also been awarded to help the site to progress its plans to apply for a full grant.
The plans include restoring the chapel - which dates to 1776 - as a venue for music and events, building a new interpretation centre and visitor facilities and providing more educational and volunteering opportunities.
Staff also plan to recreate original Georgian pathways through the site’s forest, wetland and meadow which are full of wildlife, and to create two ‘eyecatchers’ and a contemporary bridge. The redeveloped site will introduce new visitor experiences involving art, architecture, landscape design, music, history, exercise and ecology.
Dr Steven Parissien, director of Compton Verney, said: “Compton Verney has enriched the regional cultural landscape for the past nine years - and this grant will enable us to fully exploit and harness the astonishing potential of our historic context, thus benefiting both the local community and visitors from further afield.”
Having been awarded a first-round Heritage Lottery Fund pass, Compton Verney now has up to two years to submit fully-developed proposals to compete for a firm award.