By Joe Locker, Local Democracy Reporter
Nottingham City Council says it is “not yet in a position” to announce a Nottingham Castle reopening date despite earlier saying it would set one by the end of January.
The Nottingham Castle Trust, which operated the site on behalf of the Labour-run council, announced it was going into liquidation on Monday, November 21.
The castle and its grounds then closed to the public just 18 months after it reopened following a £30m renovation, which had taken three years to complete.
A new reopening date would be confirmed by the end of January, the council said during a meeting on January 9.
But in a statement issued on Friday (January 27), the authority said this could now not be confirmed.
Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Planning, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis (Lab), told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Since the site was handed back to the council from Nottingham Castle Trust’s liquidators, our initial focus has been to ensure that the site and the collections are safe, secure and appropriately managed.
“We have also been reviewing options of how best to reopen the site to the public.
“We are looking at how this can be done in a way which ensures the future of the Castle will be viable without creating additional risk to the council and the taxpayer.
“We also need to ensure that any proposals meet with the agreement of our funding partners and we continue to have positive meetings with them.
“We are making good progress on this work but are not yet in a position to announce an opening date.
“We know the significance of the Castle for our city so this is a top priority and something we have a skilled and senior team working on, tackling it with pace and rigour – but it is vitally important that we get it right for Nottingham.
“We remain absolutely committed to reopening the site as soon as possible, but importantly, that the castle is reopened in a way that delivers what Nottingham people need from our internationally significant heritage asset.
“As soon as we can share more news with the city, we will.”
The trust said its liquidation was down to lower-than-expected visitor numbers, the lasting impact of Covid, the ongoing cost of living crisis and a “threefold increase” in its own bills.
The castle was intended to be a ‘world-class’ heritage site rivalling York and Warick’s offerings, but its reopening was marred by investigations into alleged incidents of racism and criticism over visitor fees.
Nottingham City Council may be forced to write off almost £3m in loans to the trust.