Lancaster Castle opens its doors to the public this week to give people the chance to view plans for its future use.
Proposals drawn up in conjunction with heritage experts Malcolm Reading Consultants are on display in the former prison visitor’s centre.
Making the most of Lancaster Castle’s potential as a powerful new tourist attraction, and providing a boost to the local economy, the plan is to transform the castle complex into a lively mixed-use urban quarter, while maintaining its important historic and judicial functions.
The court service will remain, while new uses will include administrative facilities for the Duchy of Lancaster, a visitor attraction, a boutique hotel and arts and performance spaces.
Visitors to the public exhibition are able to view the proposals until tomorrow, Friday, and are encouraged give their feedback.
Paul Clarke, CEO and clerk of the Duchy Council, said: “The Duchy has to ensure the castle has a sustainable future and we will balance preservation of the building with activities which encourage its wider use.
“To that end, we have worked closely with our heritage consultants and various stakeholders to draw up a series of proposals which will both protect and promote the castle in the future.
“One of our main aims is for the castle to be integrated into the life of the city, and enable more people to use and enjoy it, and so the views and opinions of the local community will be absolutely vital in taking the vision forward.
“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity and something we have been working on for a long time.”
The proposals on display are the result of an initial report into potential future uses for the castle, but this public consultation is the first part of a long process and it could be several years before any or all of the proposals come to fruition.
Following the consultation, and completion of the Duchy’s own financial viability studies, a planning application will be drawn up and submitted by early 2014, with work hopefully starting by the end of 2014 and the new development open by spring 2017.