The location and planning

April 2002 - A site is found
In April 2002 the Mason Street Car Park site was recommended as the preferred location for the new centre. Consultation with stakeholders continued, a full design brief was prepared for a new building on the Mason Street site, capital funds were secured within City Council budget plans, and work progressed towards an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Corner of Mason Street and Worship Stree, 1930

July 2003 – Application to HLF
In July 2003 an application was submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £4.9m towards total project costs of £7.6m. Following feedback and advice from the Yorkshire regional HLF office, this application was withdrawn in November 2003.  A re-evaluation exercise was undertaken to investigate the weaknesses of the scheme.

In January 2004 a new project team was constituted to take the project forward. An architectural design contest was undertaken in order to produce a new design for the building. The competition was a two stage process, which also allowed for a significant amount of consultation with the three shortlisted architects before a final design was chosen.

April 2005 – Architects selected
The design by Pringle Richards Sharratt was chosen in April 2005. The award-winning architects were the designers of the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry and the Millennium Galleries and Winter Garden in Sheffield.

An extensive programme of consultation, covering users and non-users and stakeholders across the city and region resulted in the development of an Access and Audience Development Plan and the Conservation Management Plan. The City Council and University worked closely together to develop a comprehensive partnership agreement, covering all aspects of management, staffing and financing.

Dec 2006 – HLF Application
A Stage 1 application was made to HLF in December 2006 and resulted in the award of a development grant of £191,000 and the earmarking of total funding of £7.7m towards the project.

In order to maintain momentum on the project work continued on the development of the project pending the Stage 1 decision by the Trustees. Work continued in two main areas: an application for full Planning Permission for the building and the commencement of design development towards RIBA Stage E. 

Following the decision by HLF Trustees to earmark a grant for the project, the development of the design to RIBA Stage E continued, alongside a programme of further research and consultation.

May 2006 - Planning permission granted
Plans were approved for the proposed building on the Mason Street car park site behind the New Theatre.