The Friends of Bingham Manor House have made a bid to transform the 17th century Manor House.
The group who want to renovate the Grade 2 listed building, which has stood empty for 15 years, have made a £1.8 million big to the Heritage Lottery Fund after ten months or planning and public consultation.
If the application is accepted and passes the first round of bid process, the money would be ring-fenced by the lottery fund. This would allow the group to work on the smaller details of the project and prepare for the second round.
The renovation plans include building a large community hall for a capacity of 250 people to the back of the property. Other facilities include a kitchen, bar and toilets are also being installed. The plans have been backed by residents during a public consultation in June.
Parts of the house and outbuildings would be used by Robert Miles Junior School for dance, music, art and cookery lessons. A recording studio is also going to be installed and the facilities would be available to the public when not being used by the school.
There will also be a meeting room which can hold a capacity of 40 people and offices for rent to start-up businesses.
Geoff Ashton, a member of the group, said that they had four mountains to climb – applying for the grant, accessing additional funding, agreeing a price for the house and securing planning permission with listing building consent.
“This project would fulfil a need for a community centre that Bingham Town Council has recognised for 35 years, but has been unable to deliver,” said Mr Ashton.
“Now we have the opportunity. We have reviewed other options – a smaller hall or no hall – and decided the likely financial outcomes were not sufficient to sustain the facility.”
Mr Ashton said a smaller facility would not be able to host the events that would take up 30% to 40% of the lets for a large hall.
“It is clear from the feedback from the consultation at the fair and the library exhibition that there is a lot of support among the people,” he said.
The group is hoping to secure up to £500,000 additional funding from the Bingham Community Chest. It would use funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to buy the house. Mr Ashton said price discussions has started with the owner, who was sympathetic to the project.