'Deteriorating' Clitheroe Castle needs thousands of pounds' worth of repairs
Parts of historic Clitheroe Castle need thousands of pounds’ worth of repairs and are deteriorating every year through exposure to weather, Ribble Valley councillors are being told.
Lime mortar re-pointing and repairs are needed to the castle’s stone keep, which was built in the 1100s by Robert de Lacy. The keep is on the summit of the Castle Hill site overlooking the town of Clitheroe and offers spectacular views of the area including Pendle Hill.
Councillors on Ribble Valley Borough Council’s community services committee are being asked to look at the castle repairs, as part of their budget forecasts for community-related projects over the next few years.
A sum of £34,000 from borough council funds has been earmarked for the castle keep repairs. But this is linked to a potential bid for a larger amount of over £220,000 which the council hopes to receive from the National Heritage Lottery fund.
However, to be successful in a lottery funding bid, a new report to the committee says the council may need to demonstrate more is done to engage the public with the castle and other local history topics.
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A report for councillors on the borough’s community services committee says 23 community-linked schemes have been approved for spending in 2022/23 and 2023/24, totalling over £1.8m.
The schemes include potential work linked to a new Ribblesdale Pool, football pitch improvements, replacement of borough refuse collection vehicles, a van, a tipper vehicle and grass mowers.
Clitheroe Castle’s keep repairs have been added to the list as part of a series of amendments.
The report for councillors states: “The castle keep’s condition is depreciating each year. Due to the prominent location of the building, it is exposed to all weather conditions. The cost of works needed has increased since the original bid was submitted. An addition to the budget of £34,100 is sought. Please also note that external funding has not yet been able to be secured in respect of this scheme.
“The capital programme is funded on the basis that £222,240 can be secured from external funding for this scheme. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has said that any project that it funds would need to start from the point of view of involving a wider range of people with heritage and focus on community engagement. They do not fund projects that are solely for repairs of alterations.”
The refurbishment of the castle’s bandstand could potentially come from the Heritage Lottery Fund too but no estimate has has been given for this.
In other community services work, external funding has been secured or could be sought for Mardale Playing Pitches, where £80,900 of funding has come from Section 106 planning agreements stemming from Dilworth developments, and the replacement of Ribblesdale Pool.
The report suggests the borough council will apply for £500,000 of external funding from the Sport England for work related to the pool’s future options.