Heritage experts to progress plans for Lancaster Castle

After taking possession of Lancaster Castle on 11th January, The Duchy of Lancaster has appointed specialist heritage consultants to help shape the future of the landmark building.

Over the next six months, Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) will be working with The Duchy to carry out a comprehensive study which will help establish the most appropriate options for the Castle. This will include speaking to people from all sections of the Lancaster community, including members of the local authority, Lancaster University, business groups and residents.

Malcolm Reading, chairman of MRC said: “This is a great opportunity to develop a plan which reconnects Lancaster Castle with the City and local community.  We hope to speak to a large number of people over the coming months, using workshops and questionnaires, to get their views on the Castle’s future and their priorities for Lancaster.

“The study will also include extensive technical analysis and a thorough review of the monument’s formidable and distinguished history.  Developing a strategy for the Castle will involve drawing on its underplayed spaces, its setting and gravitas, as well as seeking to invigorate it through new relationships and uses.”

Following the research and discussions with key stakeholders, potential proposals will be drawn up and displayed at a public exhibition to be held in the autumn. This will provide local people with the opportunity to review viable options for the Castle and provide their feedback, so that The Duchy can then finalise a plan.

MRC has over 15 years’ experience of advising organisations on the restoration of historic sites including Westminster Abbey, the National Maritime Museum and St. Martin-in-the-Fields. A trustee of Historic Royal Palaces – a charity that looks after the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace – Malcolm Reading was director of design and architecture at the British Council before setting up MRC in 1996.

Paul Clarke, CEO and clerk of The Duchy of Lancaster, commented: “MRC brings a wealth of specialist experience to this important project. The team’s skills and architectural knowledge will enable us to develop proposals that are not only sympathetic to the Castle’s heritage, but also meet the needs of the local community and the City as a whole.”