A CAMPAIGN to save one of Richmond's most iconic buildings has made a step forward after submitting a planning application to convert it into a community hub.

The Richmondshire Building Preservation Trust has plans to convert the former grammar school, aided by grants from National Heritage Lottery Fund and the Architectural Heritage Fund.

Trustees and volunteers have been working for more than two years to devise plans and raise funds to reopen the building as a new community venue for Richmond.

The submission of final plans to Richmondshire District Council represents a major step forward for the trust, who, with the aid of relevant consultants, have undergone extensive consultation with stakeholders, conducted research into the history of the building and its former pupils, carried out surveys on the building and formed a business plan for the future running of the building.

Fundraising has been a major part of the work that has been carried out. While a significant sum in donations and pledges has already been raised, there is still some way to go to fulfil the target of £800,000 to match the application for lottery funding of £1.8m.

Raising the funds and making a successful application to the lottery are the last major hurdles to be cleared. Once the school is restored there will be office and hot desking facilities at charity rates for community hire; a community hall giving a village hall facility in town; a café with outside seating looking over the river; a beautiful functions and banqueting hall; rooms to hire and a 20-bed hostel for holiday makers, residential courses and groups. The income from these commercial areas will support the community facilities.

Trustee James Gravenor said: “After much public consultation and a lot of hard work by my trustee colleagues and the consultants we have employed, I’m pleased that we have now submitted a planning application to change the use of the Old Grammar School to a Community Hub."

The result of the application should be determined by the summer. Until then fund raising continues with events, grant applications, donation schemes and sponsorship opportunities.

To find out more about how to help with the restoration of the Old Grammar School please visit the trust’s website at www.richmondshirebpt.co.uk or email info@richmondoldgrammarschool.co.uk.