Client: Heritage Lincolnshire/PRB Architects 

Task: Design Appraisal 

Date: Summer 2021 – Ongoing 


 This is an exciting project involving Greyfriars in Lincoln, A Grade 1 Listed building, and a Scheduled Ancient Monument of international importance. Believed to be one of the earliest Franciscan Churches in Europe. The City of Lincoln Council, in partnership with Heritage Lincolnshire, has received initial support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the “Re-Imagining Greyfriars: 800 years of stories in the making” project. As well as progressing plans for conserving and repurposing the building, this project will include opportunities for people to engage with, and learn about, Greyfriars, both on-site and digitally. 

Oakley Estates were appointed onto the Design Team by PRB Architects, as the Access Consultant, to support the Design team in creating a sympathetic yet inclusive and accessible facility and experience. The brief and future plans for the building draws inspiration from its heritage, creating a centre for connection, community, and reflection where individuals and groups can gather and connect over drinks and food; learn about the history of Greyfriars; advance and develop skills through engaging with workshops and activities; immerse themselves in performances and even make life-long commitments to one another through marriage. In order for the building to fully serve the community and visiting groups in this way, it needs to become a model example of an accessible and inclusive heritage site. By removing physical barriers of access and providing lifts, accessible WCs and changing places facilities, the building will open up to a wider audience than ever before. 

Our input has helped to ensure that the proposed designs achieve the best possible outcome with regards to accessibility, we have been an active part of the design team and challenged thoughts and ideas to make sure other Design Team members have really pushed the boundaries of what is possible whilst respecting the buildings heritage status and designation. We have also worked closely with the interpretation team and activities co-ordinator to provide support and advice beyond that relating to the physical structure, as a result, we have a proposal that is inclusive and a real asset to the local community, that will sustain into the future, being able to facilitate many user groups and uses.