Scheme aims to reverse decline in ancient craft skills needed to maintain city’s minster

Tonkin Liu has submitted plans for a new training centre in the shadow of York Minster that aims to reverse the decline of ancient craft skills including stonemasonry.

The Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management is part of a wider redevelopment of the minster’s 7ha precinct that is the biggest programme of planned works on the site for 150 years.

The £5m project will include new facilities for the 15th century minster’s own stonemasons and provide training in both modern and ancient techniques for apprentices and students in York and further afield.

It is also intended to encourage global learning and knowledge sharing and to be a “shining example of best practice” in managing complex heritage estates.

The plans, which have been lodged with York council, cover two sites - the Heritage Quad and the Works and Technology Hub.

Alongside new construction, existing buildings will be reordered and repurposed to provide new workspace and to enable more interaction with the public.

The training centre is one part of a masterplan for the cathedral precinct which aims to preserve and enhance the cultural significance of the site over the next 15 years.

Residents in the vicinity of the precinct will vote on the plan on 10 May. If approved, it will be adopted by the council as part of the statutory development plan for the city.

The redevelopment, which has a focus on sustainability, would also include a new refectory restaurant, a new public square, enhanced public realm and a new discovery and learning centre.

The cathedral said that it aims to bring forward “ground-breaking changes” within a heritage estate that will turn York Minster into an “exemplar for how heritage estates address climate change”.