AN ambitious multi-venue arts project in the Lake District is in the running for a share of a new £15 million fund aimed at showcasing the north of England.

The money will be used to support ongoing projects at the Windermere Jetty, Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere, and Kendal’s Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Museum.

The Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund will make grants of up to £4 million available to support major culture and tech capital projects. The £3.29million World Heritage Lake District proposal will now go forward as the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) submission to the fund. It will face competition from 10 other schemes across the region.

Bid leaders Lakeland Arts and the Wordsworth Trust have proposed a package of transformative capital investment to help the following cultural and heritage projects:

L Windermere Jetty will create a new, accessible and sustainable museum on the lake's shores. It includes the creation of a permanent exhibition; a temporary exhibition space; a project space for artist commissions, residencies and community projects in the Old Fire Station: an outdoor learning and play area and landscaping across the grounds.

L Reimagining Wordsworth will transform the visitor experience of the historic Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere, which holds the largest collection of the poet's letters and manuscripts. It will create a new gallery increasing space for exhibitions; a learning centre; new outdoor spaces to connect the visitor experience to the landscape and a community gallery for local artists, community groups and young people to showcase their work.

L Abbot Hall, which is home to one of the region’s most significant visual arts collections and hosts a programme of exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, will undergo refurbishment across its main galleries; create a new project space for artist residencies, exhibitions, community projects and workshops.

Cumbria LEP Director Graham Haywood said: “We assessed several submissions from within the county before deciding that the World Heritage Lake District project had the potential to make a significant impact in terms of arts, culture and attracting visitors to Cumbria.

“For those reasons, the assessment panel believed that the bid could stand up against proposals from the 10 other LEPs across the north and agreed that Cumbria LEP should assist organisers in developing the full business case that has now been submitted to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.”

In a joint statement, Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Lakeland Arts, and Michael McGregor, The Robert Woof Director of the Wordsworth Trust, said: "The transformational project celebrates Cumbria as an internationally significant cultural landscape, and builds on the announcement of the English Lake District as the UK's newest UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2017.

“The project will bring significant benefits to Cumbria’s communities and boost cultural tourism. It will create a step-change in the quality and impact of culture in the region and we are excited about how the capital developments in the project will greatly increase learning and engagement opportunities and participation in cultural activities, as well as developing skills and creating new permanent jobs.”

Successful bids will be announced in March 2018.