A revised masterplan which includes plans for a hotel for Warwick Castle is due to be submitted.
Over the last 18 months the team at Warwick Castle has been working alongside Warwick District Council on its masterplan which is due to be submitted along with some new content.
According to the castle the plan is a way ‘to make Warwick Castle more appealing to the heritage, family and trade markets’ as well as ‘sympathetically’ improving the site.
Among restoration projects, there are a number of potentially contentious items including a proposed hotel. The plan also includes projects such as a cafe in Long Walk, new accommodation in Guy’s Tower, extending or expanding the Stables area gift shop, and a Pageant field circular conservation walk.
Although these projects are listed in the masterplan, Nick Blofeld, divisional director at Warwick Castle, said that it does not mean they will necessarily go ahead. He said: “The masterplan is a bit like a wish list. Some things are less likely to happen and some are more likely due to things like cost and sensitivity.”
Addressing the previous concerns about the hotel, Nick said: “I think the reaction we saw last year might have been an initial lack of understanding about the location and scale of any possible hotel development.
“I think it is less likely than a year ago, now that we have done some initial work on possible locations. Were it to go ahead though, the most logical site seems to be in the car park adjacent to the Knight’s Village Banqueting Hall, and we would use that facility as a shared restaurant/café space, to reduce the scale of the hotel building itself.
“Of course if anything does progress, there would have to be a lot of work into exploring this further on the technical side, plus a full scale public consultation, and then a subsequent planning application.”
If the masterplan is backed by Warwick District Council, any projects that the team would want to put forward would need planning applications.
Nick has also said that there have been a few changes to the plan but that the most important additions are the ‘guiding principles’ which the castle team would take into account when submitting plans for projects.
These include keeping in mind the significance of the registered park and garden, assessing of the character and appearance of the conservation area; keeping in mind the heritage assets with any proposed physical alterations such as ‘can it be reversed and using historically sympathetic materials?’.
This year £300,00 of restoration work took place and a disabled access lift was installed. In 2019 there are plans for applications including: formally submitting a temporary seasonal application for the jousting arena; a plan to formalise an agreement for the castle’s overflow carpark and an application for a path from the Stratford Road car park to Stratford Road.