Over the last three years Ellis Williams has worked with a project group led by Bishop Peter Doyle to develop plans for a new purpose-built Cathedral Centre for worship, learning and hospitality at Northampton Cathedral. Earlier in the year, in March, another milestone was reached when Bishop Peter broke the ground joined by Canon Mark Floody and the Lord Lieutenant.
The Cathedral is home to a vibrant, committed and active Catholic community which has been increasing and the limitations of current facilities have prevented the Cathedral to host gatherings or offer hospitality to visitors and worshippers.
The new contemporary extension will be built alongside the grade 2 listed Coach House that then forms a new space alongside the Cathedral Gardens. The current garages will be transformed into a distinctive entrance to the Centre that will conserve the original vernacular appearance.
The new Centre will deliver a venue for diocesan events such as days of recollection, catechetical programmes, retreats, musicians’ days, lay formation and training courses, educational and celebratory events for young people by providing fully equipped meeting spaces of different sizes; flexible multi-space rooms available to parishes and groups with a common interest drawn from across the Diocese. Another benefit will be that hospitality can be provided within the Cathedral grounds following major diocese events.
A café will welcome visitors and offer affordable refreshments to local people, visiting groups and others using the Centre. Modern, large and well-equipped kitchens will enable the function rooms to cater for the full range of events. The grounds will be landscaped to create beautiful gardens, including a children’s garden and a gathering place for prayer and reflection, offering an oasis of calm and refuge from the outside world.