Sleaford Town Council has been holding preliminary discussions to potentially develop Sleaford Castle as an historic tourist attraction.
Mayor Garry Titmus is to report to the council’s Services Committee tonight (Wednesday) about possibilities for enhancement of the Castlefield site, which contains the remains of the former castle.
This would take the form of a long term project improving its attractiveness and accessibility, possibly with voluntary help and grant funding.
The research has already begun to be looked at including a site meeting with North Kesteven’s economic development manager and English Heritage.
Sleaford Castle was built in 1139 for the Bishop of Lincoln and has been visited by King John, Henry VIII and his queen Catherine Howard. Although demolished, the outline of the castle is still there, as a scheduled monument and Grade 2 listed building.
Coun Titmus explains in his report: “Castlefield is a large and valuable open space in the middle of a town but it is chronically under-utilised by Sleaford residents and visitors from outside are seldom seen there. Principal use would appear to be by local dog walkers.
It is also subject to fly-tipping, there is evidence of people sleeping overnight and there have been several recent fires - almost certainly started deliberately.”
He said that Sleaford lacks tourist attractions: “We do have in the Sleaford Castle site, a historical monument in the making; we just need to present it better.”
He said public awareness of the site needs to be raised, family friendly facilities added and the castle placed in a historical and local context. Various historical and funding organisations would need to be brought on board and NKDC and English Heritage are already showing enthusiastic support with a suggestion of an archaeological dig to attract greater. interest.
Coun Titmus said improved access would be important as it currently has only one entrance and no parking.
Dumped rubbish has been taken away and overgrowth cut back with plans for wild flower seeds to be sown.
Coun Titmus there were two main aims: “To open up a valuable inner town open space to the wider public to maximise its use for leisure and recreation and to provide Sleaford with a potential historical tourist attraction to enhance the attractiveness of Sleaford to visitors and residents.”
If given the nod, further work and a feasibility study will be carried out.