Castle grounds project moves up a gear

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An innovative plan to overhaul Lews Castle Grounds, Stornoway has taken another step forward as planning applications have been lodged for a range of improvements.

This is the latest milestone in a joint initiative by the Stornoway Trust and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to restore and improve the Castle Grounds through a major funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund Parks for People Programme.

Plans for restoring Lews Castle have already won support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and are well advanced. The castle, new museum and archive are expected to be open to the public in the early autumn.

A decision on the funding bid for the grounds project is expected in June.

The total project cost is approximately £5.5m and will restore important historic features, including the formal gardens, improve access, enhance management and maintenance and provide new facilities that will enable even more people to enjoy this outstanding public park.

The project also includes provision for new key posts to manage and maintain the parkland.

The Stornoway Trust has recently appointed a Transition Director with HLF funding to assist in strategic and business planning.

Planned improvements

The planning applications included a Listed Building Consent, which are required for proposed repairs to the Porter’s Lodge; the Boatman’s Tower, the Bastion Walls and Terrace Steps in front of the Castle, the Walls and Steps in the former Private (Sunken) Gardens and the Sea Walls.

The planning applications relate to proposed alterations and new works including a new fountain at Lews Castle, a new Shelter structure in the Sunken Gardens, alterations to the roof of the Boatman’s Tower and new Adventure and Toddler play areas in the Bayhead Embankment and Woodlands Centre area.

Further details of the proposals are available on the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Planning portal:

http://planning.cne-siar.gov.uk/PublicAccess/