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Nottingham Castle plans outlined ahead of local elections

The main political parties have outlined their hopes and plans for Nottingham Castle ahead of the local election on May 4.

The doors to the historic site have been closed since November, after the Nottingham Castle Trust announced it was going into liquidation just 18 months after a £33m revamp project was completed.

The site was subsequently handed back to Nottingham City Council.

In March a plan to fully reopen the castle from June, with preview events beginning in May, was approved.

This means the gates will fully reopen after the May 4 election, where 55 seats on the council will be up for grabs.

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The main political parties standing in the full council election have shared their plans for the site, including the possible introduction of long-awaited annual passes, as well as making the future business plan available to the public.

Nottingham Labour Group

The Labour Group in Nottingham said it would open the grounds up for free at least three days a year in its manifesto.

The group will also be working on providing an annual pass.

Leader Cllr David Mellen said: “I think it will be more than three,” he said.

“Three is in our manifesto, but since we have taken the castle back we have already announced three days where people are only going to have to pay an admin charge of £1 for the Coronation and for the concert at Windsor Castle the next day, and then the next week the Eurovision big screen [event].

“There will be more days like that. We will be working towards an annual pass, I think that is part of the plan, but we will announce that in the coming weeks.

“It is not feasible to allow everybody access into the grounds for free. It is a heritage site, it needs people looking after it, and we will make it as economical as possible for the people of Nottingham.

“We are also looking at children being able to go with parents for free, too.”

Nottingham Liberal Democrats

The Nottingham Liberal Democrats, in its manifesto, says the group will be calling for “a public business plan”, first and foremost.

At present the business plan for the castle has not been made public.

The cost of entry is also yet to be announced.

“The castle needs to be reopened with a proper, public business plan, and we will push for the grounds to be open to all, not just three times a year as Labour are promising,” the group adds.

Nottingham Green Party

The Green Party says the castle should be “free or at least affordable.”

Oliver Fairey, a spokesman for the party, said: “As I’m sure many people in the city feel, we are appalled by Nottingham Castle Trust’s mismanagement of one of our city’s most treasured cultural buildings.

“The Labour council has presided over this mismanagement and this should not be forgotten.

“The castle should be free or at least affordable for more than just three days a year.

“The Green Party would ensure that the space the castle already provides is used for direct democracy; the site of Nottingham’s citizens’ assembly, following the Nottingham tradition of holding the powers to account at the gates of that castle.”

Nottingham Conservative Group

The Nottingham Conservatives says it would work with the Conservative Government to ensure the castle has a sustainable future.

Paul Ruane, chairman of the group, said: “Having only very recently spent so much money on turning this into what was supposed to be a world-class attraction, it is a real shame for everyone in Nottingham that it has ended up closing its doors so soon.

“Nottingham Conservatives would work with the Government to ensure that the castle gets the right people in place who would ensure it is being run as a proper business with a sustainable future.”

Nottingham Independents

Group leader Kevin Clarke said: “We certainly think the grounds should be made free.

“When I was a kid I used to be able to go in there, but as far as the inside it has got to hold its own.

“We would be looking at a nominal charge. The prices before were ridiculous and unbelievably overpriced.

“At the end of the day the castle belongs to the people of Nottingham.”

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