FROM the enclosed spaces to bright, glass fronted spaces Norton Priory is set to get a very modern makeover.

And the transformation is thanks to a £3.7 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the team at Norton Priory are rightfully over the moon.

Paul Mathews, chairman of the trustees at Norton Priory, said: "It's just wonderful, it will transform the place. We are looking to improve the visitor experience and the development will bring history to life for a lot of young people."

The money will be used on the Monastery to Museum 900 project which aims to preserve and restore the 12th century priory undercroft, exhibit the museum’s extensive collections and interpret the site’s 900 year history.

Architectural plans include increased exhibition spaces which will allow many more objects from the museum’s collection to be displayed for the first time, along with national loans.

Modern facilities and a new café will also improve the visitor experience.

And now the majority of the funding for the £4.4 million project is in place the challenging work ahead can start.

Stephen Anderson, an architect from Buttress which has been chosen to create the plans for the new development, said: "Some of the real gems here are wonderful and statues like St Christopher we want to bring them to the fore.

"We are going to have to do some archaeological excavations so they don't turn up relics during the building work.

"It's extremely complex not only do you have a 3D puzzle to solve there is also a historical aspect."

The trust is also supported by Halton Borough Council, the Wolfson Foundation, Arts Council England, Foyle Foundation, Granada Foundation and Radcliffe Trust.

Clr Eddie Jones, from the council, said: "There is a lot of hard work that has gone into this. It's going to improve tourism because we are expecting visitor numbers to increase.

"The council has given vital support over the last few years in terms of experts and supporting the bid.."

A further £190,000 still needs to be raised before the project can start.

Building and conservation work is due to start at the museum in January with the redeveloped museum reopening in August 2016.