Plans for the restoration of Elizabeth Castle have finally gone in, 40 years after proposals for the revamp of the key heritage site were first mentioned.
The planning application includes restoration of the Hospital Block as a museum, as well as a refurbishment of the coal store and the Stables, Engineers’ Store, and Coal Yard buildings to provide toilets, catering, lecture and exhibition facilities.
It comes after a long battle, spanning 40 years, to get the castle restored. AC Saunders, Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments at the UK Department of the Environment, first put forward plans for future developments at the heritage site back in 1980.
Across the years, these plans kept being pushed back due to a lack of funding. The tide only seemed to turn in 2019 when States Members agreed funding for the project, following a comprehensive survey of the condition of the castle but that hit another roadblock - the originally proposed Government Plan 2021-24 pulled £3.4m worth of funding for the restoration plans without the knowledge of then-Assistant Culture Minister, Deputy Montfort Tadier.
Pictured: An amendment from Deputy Montfort Tadier resulted in £750,000 being put forward for the work on Elizabeth Castle.
This prompted Heritage to hit out at the Government’s “embarrassingly long history of inaction” with regards to the castle.
However, following an amendment from Deputy Tadier, initally for £2.6m, £750,000 was agreed and granted towards the castle’s maintenance as part of the approved plan.
Earlier this month, Heritage also received a £1.1m ‘top up’ grant. It was also recently reclassified as a registered charity, and will now be entitled to an estimated £450,000 of grants, donations and tax liabilities it had previously lost out on.
If approved, the plans would see the Hospital Block restored and the public given access to it for the first time in many years.
"This is an important building, not just in relation to the history of Elizabeth Castle, but nationally as a rare example of a purpose built military hospital," Designer and Historic Building Consultant, Anthony Gibb wrote in his Design and Heritage Statement.
Pictured: The hospital block is one of several buildings that has been needing renovation since the 1980's.
The works will include the replacement of the tiles, repairs to the timber roof structure and damaged masonry as well as lime plastering.
The refurbishment of the coalyard, stables and engineers’ store - which have been used as stage - will provide toilets, a kitchen and a function room.
The interior exposed granite masonry will be kept along with the limestone floor in the Coal Yard, another early feature.
Existing elements such as the staircase, the flagstones in the kitchen and hall as well as doors and windows will be retained.
"The aims of the proposed works are to preserve the special architectural and historical interest of the Hospital Block and ancillary buildings, to improve universally accessible toilet provision and access to parts of the castle, and to facilitate tourism and education at the Elizabeth Castle," Mr Gibb wrote.
A decision on the Elizabeth Castle plans will be made by the Planning Committee next year.
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