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Raising the Standard at Nottingham Castle

City councillors are recommended to start the process towards a £15million bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support the development of Nottingham Castle as a world class heritage attraction offering fun and excitement for all the family and a nationally significant centre for learning about protest and rebellion.

The grant would form an essential part of the money required to deliver this ambition and vision which would also tell the story of Nottingham Castle and its role in shaping the history of Britain together with the stories of the key people who have lived and worked here.

The council’s Executive Board is meeting on November 20th to make the decision on submitting the Stage I HLF bid. The Castle Working Group, a business led partnership involving Nottingham City Council and a range of Nottingham stakeholders led by Ted Cantle has developed concept plans for the improvement of the Castle consisting of:-

  • •Improved gatehouse entrance, re-establishing mediaeval moat and bridge.
  • •Customer welcome centre, with café, reception and retail outlet
  • •Groundworks to the Castle site
  • •New Ducal Palace two storey extension, with Robin and the Rebels discovery gallery
  • •Improved access and interpretation of the site’s caves
  • •Re-laid out museum and improved temporary exhibition galleries for touring international exhibitions
  • •Improved Ducal Palace café offer
  • •Lift access between Castle site and Brewhouse Yard
  • •Revamped handling and collections stores in the Waterworks Building.
  • •Revitalised Museum of Nottingham Life offer
  • •Improved use of technology for display and interpretation to encourage participation using 3D projectors, smart phone, and tablet technology within a “future-proofed” environment

The overall cost of this development is estimated at £26m, which is proposed to be funded from a variety of sources including the HLF.

The bid contains the following core themes:

Theme 1 – Nottingham Castle: Mediaeval fortress to Ducal Palace today

  1. To uncover and tell the rich and multi-layered history of the Castle site over the centuries
  2. To open up access to experience some of Nottingham’s unique Caves and understand their history
  3. To reveal more of the mediaeval site and improve the area to allow greater access for activities and events
  4. To provide exciting access between the Castle site and Brewhouse Yard / Waterworks site

Theme 2 – Robin and the Rebels: Protest, Rebellion and the rise of Democracy (New interactive and participative gallery)

  1. To use Robin Hood to help lead visitors through  1,000 years of the history of Nottingham to explore national issues around protest, rebellion and democratic freedoms, citizenship and civil engagement, involving people with the present as well as the past
  2. To stimulate through debate, participation, reflection, challenge and incorporate users’ contributions
  3. To bring the story of mediaeval Nottingham and Nottingham Castle to life in an exciting and fun way that will appeal to all the family

Theme 3 – Creative City: Building upon the existing Ducal Palace Arts Galleries

  1. To understand the founding vision of the current museum by exploring how creative design continues to stimulate manufacturing and the Nottingham economy
  2. To enhance access to and improve understanding of the Museum’s extensive heritage and art collections
  3. To use and celebrate  the cultural connections of the world, to Nottingham

In March 2012, Focus Consultants were commissioned by Nottingham Development Enterprise (NDE) to undertake a scoping exercise study for the development of a Stage 1 bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Consultation undertaken during August and September this year revealed that “More ways to learn about Robin Hood”, “more access to the caves”, “more ways to engage & learn about the Mediaeval Castle” and “improved museum exhibits” were the top suggestions for improvements to Nottingham Castle with

94% of visitors feeling that if improvements were made in these and other areas then they would be more likely to return to the Castle for further visits.

An Economic Impact Assessment has identified the following added value that a redevelopment of the Castle will have for Nottingham over a ten year period if the development takes place:

  • An increase in visitor numbers from 196,000 (today) to over 315,000 annually (2025).
  • An increase in value to the Nottingham economy of over £77,000,000, made up of increased visitor spend, increased spend on goods and services in the local economy by the redeveloped Castle site, the economic value of volunteering at the Castle, as well as the wider regeneration benefits that will be achieved on adjacent sites.
  • An increase in economic opportunities during the development equivalent of 1,481 short term jobs.
  • An increase of full time jobs created (over a ten year period) of 1348, consisting of 36 direct new jobs at the Castle and 1,312 jobs created as a result of increased visitor spend in the economy.

City Council Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, Councillor Dave Trimble says:

“This is a really exciting bid and I want to thank the Castle Working Group and also everyone who took part in the consultation for getting the plans for the Castle to this stage. Of course, there’s still a long way to go before we can turn these plans into reality but this is a really important step along the way.

The proposals in this bid would enable us to capture the role our iconic Castle has played in rebellion and freedom over the past 1,000 years and to bring to life the story of Robin Hood in a way that will create an exciting and fun experience for all the family. I was excited to see that the caves came out particularly strongly in the public consultation and this gives us an opportunity to showcase this unique part of the city’s heritage.

The ambition to create a world-class visitor attraction at the Castle would also bring the additional benefits of regenerating the surrounding area, bringing major investment into our city and creating and sustaining hundreds of jobs.

I’m very hopeful that the Executive Board will approve the bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund when it meets on November 20th”.

Posted on 14 November 2012

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