Builders back on site at Pontefract Castle

27/03/2017, PR8510

​Work has resumed on the £3.5 million Key to the North project at Pontefract Castle.

Work restarts on the Visitor Centre at Pontefract Castle
Work restarts on the Visitor Centre at Pontefract Castle

​Wakefield Council has appointed a new contractor to finish the project which stopped when builder William Anelay Ltd went into administration last year.

The re-start means that the new visitor centre and café will open in June and the capital works should be finished in November.

Cllr Les Shaw
Cllr Les Shaw

​Cllr Les Shaw, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: "I am delighted that work is restarting at the castle.  We have been working really hard to get a new builder who can complete the project and offer value for money to our funders and to council tax payers.

"When the new visitor centre opens we will be able to offer first class learning facilities for schools and an excellent retail offer, museum space and café for visitors.  The work to the monument should be completed by the autumn and that will mean the removal of the castle from Historic England's at risk register."

The specialist contractor appointed to carry out the work is Heritage Building and Conservation (York) Ltd which, as well as constructing the new café and visitor centre, using timber and glass to convert a former barn, has 15 stonemasons on site applying traditional lime and mortar techniques to restore the historic castle which was originally built in around 1070.

Heritage Building and Conservation's General Manager, Chris Quinn, said: "As a new business, this is a fantastic opportunity for us to complete the construction of the café and visitor centre and apply our heritage building expertise to the castle, using locally sourced sand and stone, so it can be preserved and continue to be enjoyed by future generations.

Some of our stonemasons have over 25 years' experience of working on sites of this importance, many of which live and work in this region and understand just how important Pontefract Castle is to the history of the local community."

 Pontefract Castle has been awarded funds from National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Historic England, EPaC landfill charity, the Wolfson Foundation and Wakefield Council.

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