RIPON Cathedral is pressing ahead with plans for its first major extension in over a decade after raising more than half of the £6m needed to get the project underway.

The ancient cathedral – which has a history stretching back almost 14 centuries – is earmarked for a new cafe, shop and education space.

Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson, said the developments are “vital to bring this national treasure into the 21st century”.

The cathedral has raised more than £4m and will stage an exhibition on its proposals from the middle of August until the end of September.

It begins on August 15 and visitors will be given the chance to see how areas of the cathedral could be transformed.

Dean Dobson said: “We hope that as many people as possible will come along to the cathedral to see the exhibition and give us their feedback.

“We are very keen to hear what they have to say about this transformational project that will bring a boost for our service to the city and region, as well as the local economy.”

There has been a stone church at the site since 672 and today’s Grade I listed building is the fourth to have stood there.

A major restoration was carried out in 1861 after the place of worship was reformed from a minister to a cathedral.

An initial approach has been made to Harrogate Borough Council over the details of the new extension plan, but a planning application has yet to be submitted to the authority.