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Urgent repairs required for Newark Castle to cost almost £1 million

Newark Castle is set to undergo major restoration work due to “significant challenges” with the historic remains.

The “urgent repairs” to the ancient site are necessary to “preserve its legacy for the future as an iconic emblem of Newark”, the district council warned.

The 900-year-old monument, which a played a key role in several conflicts including the English Civil War, requires work to the walls due to risk of loose stone fall.

Fencing which has been put up to mitigate the risks is impacting on the castle’s operation, with weddings “particularly affected”, council documents stated.

Now, Newark and Sherwood District Council plans to borrow £570,000 to fund the urgent repairs. The other £10,000 will be used from a fund for the Castle Gatehouse project which was unveiled last month.

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The total cost of all the work to be completed in the next 10 years is “in the region of £955,000”, the authority added.

Dr Stuart Jennings, an academic adviser for the National Civil War Centre, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the repair works were necessary because otherwise Newark could face losing its castle.

He said: “If you leave it as it is, the castle will continue to deteriorate and eat money up over a period of time. You can’t leave a listed monument or it will cost you.

“When it is done well, people will come, as we have seen with the Civil War Centre.

“Quite a lot is dependent on how it is marketed, but it could be quite an investment for Newark and Sherwood District Council.

“For the council and for the population of Newark they are blessed to have such a historic monument. It is a blessing and a responsibility.

“The repair works have to be done otherwise we will lose it. It’s a short-term cost for a long term gain.”

Councillors will be asked to approve the funding for the project during the Finance and Policy Committee meeting on February 21.

It comes after the council received a recent condition survey report last month which details work which needs “urgent attention”.

Following the inspection of the site, the council was advised to fence off the inner and outer walls until repairs can be undertaken. Wooden walkways are also inaccessible.

Council reports stated: “The ruinous nature of the Castle remains bring significant challenges.

“The two main walls which run between the towers are exposed to the elements – the inner facing of these would originally have been internal walls and so are particularly susceptible to damage caused by vegetation growth, water ingress and cold, freezing conditions in the winter.

“It is proposed to add £570,000 to the capital programme to complete the urgent repairs, to protect the legacy of the castle, to ensure the safety of the public visiting the site and to enable the grounds and green space to remain accessible to the public.”

Some repairs will be made immediately whilst others will be made within five years, depending on the risks. Other repairs will be scheduled for after 2026.

Separately, an £80,000 project to restore the gatehouse at the castle is hoped to “ensure that the castle delivers on its potential for tourism as a destination attraction”.

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