ONE of Southampton’s most historic buildings could be set for a fresh lease of life as a community arts venue.

Plans to create new performance venues, a bar and cafe and art exhibition space at the God’s House Tower have been filed with the city council.

City arts organisation ‘a space’ hope they will be able to start work to revitalise the Grade II-listed landmark next year if their plans and a bid for funding are successful.

Art space Built as a gatehouse in the 13th century, it was strengthened following the devastating raid in 1338 which saw much of Southampton pillaged by French troops.

Since then it has been used as a jail and most recently the city’s archaeology museum, until it closed in 2011.

And now it could be set for a new use if ‘a space’ is successful in securing planning permission and £2.1 million in grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other organisations.

The group is set to sign a 25-year lease with the city council, which will continue owning the building.

The building’s ground floor would contain a bar and cafe, which would also be an unofficial tourist information centre, as well as a small event space which could host small plays and spoken word performances.

Its mezzanine level would feature a rotating gallery of both old and contemporary artwork and artefacts telling the story of the building and its changing environment.

The large first floor space would be able to feature exhibitions and dramatic and musical performances with crowds of up to 100 people.

A decision on the planning application is expected in December.

Daniel Crow, director at a space, said: “What we want to achieve is to retell the stories of the building.

“It has a 700-year-long history and has played a really important role in the city’s development.

“We want to open this up to the community of Southampton as a resource, especially the arts and heritage community.

“But it is also located opposite the international cruise terminal so if we get our offer right we can play a role in greeting those passengers, signposting them to Tudor House and other locations in the Old Town and welcoming them to the city and the country.”