Nottingham City Council has set out plans which will see the closed Nottingham Castle fully reopen in June, if councillors give the plans the go-ahead next week.
Nottingham Castle Trust, which went into liquidation last year, pointed to low visitor numbers and increased costs as the heritage attraction shut its doors last November 2022, less than two years after a £30m refit. The castle was then put back into the hands of the council.
Under the proposals, the council will take the operation of the castle site back into its Museums and Galleries service, which will run it alongside other heritage sites such as Newstead Abbey and Wollaton Hall.
If approved, preview events could begin as early as May in the grounds to give people the opportunity to rediscover the site ahead of full reopening. A report to be considered by the council’s Executive Board on Tuesday 21 March outlines other options, including mothballing the site and initially only reopening the grounds.
The option to fully reopen is being recommended for approval, said Nottingham City Council, with up to £2.1m earmarked in the council’s medium-term financial plan for its operation over the next three financial years. All the features of the redeveloped site will be available to visitors under the council’s proposals.
As a result of the liquidation last year, 47 people lost their jobs. Approved recommendations would trigger an activation period of around three months to recruit and train staff and set up any systems and processes needed for fully reopening the castle.
Nottingham City Council said: “Alongside the reopening, it is proposed to undertake a lessons learned exercise as part of an assessment into how to best operate the castle.
“This will help inform future decisions around what would provide the council with the delivery model for the site that allows for the best experience for all visitors.’
The City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture & Planning, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said the Museums and Galleries service, which has previously run the site “has the skills, specialist knowledge and cultural partnership connections to quickly mobilise and successfully animate the site with a programme of activities.
“It is important to get this right and officers have worked tirelessly to achieve that, I am proud of the work done.”