IN the 10 years since it was set up, Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust has worked "to support the urgent restoration programme being undertaken on the fabric of the cathedral and its environs".

It is for the latter that the trust has made its fourth bid for lottery funding, this time for £3.5 million, as plans get under way to develop Cathedral Close.

The result of the trust's stage one application to the Heritage Lottery Fund is expected to be announced in mid-autumn and, if successful, work would then begin on detailed designs for the area and final consultation with all interested parties and relevant bodies.

"This is a flagship project in the regeneration of the whole county and we want it to be what people want," says Glyn Morgan, secretary of the trust.

Assuming the bid is successful and that the necessary matched funds are secured, work on the project would begin in 2007, with celebrations to mark the restoration pencilled in for December 2008.

Mr Morgan points to events last week in Cathedral Close which highlight the need for regeneration of the area.

"Two windows were broken in the Audley Chapel, not for the first time - possibly by stones or bottles thrown through them.

"The restoration project would increase the lighting, install CCTV and increase the legitimate use of the close."

The regeneration of Cathedral Close is the latest in a series of projects supported by Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust, the most recent of which is the current restoration of the pinnacles of the central tower and the re-leading of the roof.