£1.4million grant awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to revamp Newark Castle Gatehouse

Posted on: Monday, May 13, 2024

Today, Newark and Sherwood District Council received a grant of £1.4million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for its ambitious plans to create a new and improved visitor attraction at Newark Castle.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, this ground-breaking project will allow visitors into the Newark Castle’s original Romanesque Gatehouse where they’ll be able to learn more about the castle’s story through time as five gallery spaces bring its medieval history to life through fascinating, fun and interactive displays, designed by Nissen Richards Studio.

Councillor Rowan Cozens, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Heritage, Culture and the Arts at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “This is absolutely wonderful news for the town, and is the final piece of the puzzle we’ve been waiting for to kick start this fantastic project.

“Without the funding from National Lottery players and the Heritage Fund, we could not start the project, so I’m delighted they have made such a substantial grant to the project, and like us, could see the huge benefit this could bring to Newark.  I thank them wholeheartedly.”

Robyn Llewellyn, Area Director, Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said:
“We are delighted to be supporting these ambitious plans to revitalise the historic Newark Castle Gatehouse. The story of the castle dates back to the 12th century, and it’s fantastic that support from National Lottery players will keep this historic site relevant for future generations.”

The project will enable people to discover the origins of the castle and explore the wealth of its history which dates back to the 12th century.

There will also be a tower-top viewing platform from which visitors can overlook great views of Trent Valley. The project aims to enhance and protect the natural environment and green space within this historic site, establishing more biodiversity and enhancing accessibility through landscape development.

More than 600 visitors and non-visitors were initially consulted to help shape the development. The District Council then worked closely with historians, archaeologists, conservators, ecologists, access consultants, architects and designers to ensure that plans are robust and well-researched.

Local people’s ideas were also taken on board and have been incorporated in the final design. HE Milner’s beloved flowerbed will remain, and the gardens will be physically accessible for everybody. 

It’s anticipated that, once works are completed, the Castle will attract almost 17,000 visitors each year from outside of the district, helping to deliver sustainable economic growth. It is proposed that entry to the exhibition will be half price for Newark and Sherwood residents, with free entry for children and young people. Visitors will also be able to return for free as many times as they like within a 12-month period. Access to the grounds will remain free for all.

Councillor Cozens continues, “This project ensures accessibility and biodiversity remains at its very heart while providing a beautiful green space for our residents as well as our visitors.  It is hoped that increased visitors to the site will be a huge boost to our local economy too with local businesses having access to more people who can spend in their stores.

“The District Council is planning to use the grounds for a range of activities and events for all the community and entry to the galleries itself will be reduced for Newark and Sherwood residents.  I’m incredibly excited about the future for Newark Castle and am waiting with eagerness for the next stage in its journey.”

The town’s early evening economy will be supported too with plans to improve the lighting in the grounds to enable a safe ‘after dark’ experience.

The project will cost £5.4m in total, with a £3m investment already committed from Newark and Sherwood District Council’s application to the Government’s Towns Fund initiative through Newark Town board. 

Work on the Castle is expected to take place in late 2024 with construction likely to take a couple of years.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

As the largest dedicated funder of the UK’s heritage, The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s vision is for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future as set out in our strategic plan, Heritage 2033. 

Over the next ten years, the Heritage Fund aims to invest £3.6billion raised for good causes by National Lottery players to bring about benefits for people, places and the natural environment.  

The Heritage Fund helps protect, transform, and share the things from the past that people care about, from popular museums and historic places, our natural environment and fragile species, to the languages and cultural traditions that celebrate who we are. 

The Heritage Fund is passionate about heritage and committed to driving innovation and collaboration to make a positive difference to people’s lives today, while leaving a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy.  

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund  www.heritagefund.org.uk.

You can watch a video of the announcement here: https://youtu.be/VOoj1ffaO-I?si=EhJP-xg-ZreLg5dT