Council approves plan to reopen Nottingham Castle
Councillors have voted in favour of a plan to fully reopen Nottingham Castle, which closed last November following the collapse of the charitable trust that ran the site.
At an executive board meeting this week, Nottingham City Council approved a strategy to reopen the heritage site after it folded just 18 months after the completion of a £31m redevelopment.
Activity will begin in May with a series of open days for local visitors, along with a concert and live screening of the King’s Coronation on 6 May, with funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Council leader David Mellen told the board that a firm business case for the site had been developed and lessons had been learned from the failure of the trust. This will include a new pricing structure with a particular focus on families, which will be announced in due course.
“We needed to get this open as quickly as we can, and we have done that now,” he reportedly told the board.
The council is considering whether to run the site in-house as part of its museum and gallery service, outsource its management to an external provider or create a hybrid partnership.
It plans to undertake a delivery model assessment of its museum and gallery service over the next nine months to consider these options.
Up to £2.13m has been earmarked for the reopening over the next three financial years to 2025-26, although the business plan estimates costs of £1.89m.
Those who lost their jobs in the liquidation of the trust will be encouraged to apply for new positions, which will be advertised in due course.
Pavlos Kotsonis, the council’s portfolio holder for leisure, culture and planning, said: “This is a site which belongs to the whole of Nottingham and I’m hopeful that our approach, which draws on our successful experience of running Wollaton and Newstead, will first and foremost meet with local approval.
“I have no doubt that Nottingham Castle can also become a destination of national and international importance, just as we had envisaged when the £31m of improvements were completed.”