Castle Museum owners in talks over the future of Clifford’s Tower

New plans for old Clifford's Tower. Photographs: Richard McDougall
5 Jul 2018 @ 7.51 am
| Environment

York Museums Trust is in talks with English Heritage about the future of Clifford’s Tower and the Castle area.

The news comes as City of York Council prepares to back out of a Clifford’s Tower land deal.

The trust, which runs the Castle Museum, is talking to Clifford’s Tower owners English Heritage about their visitor centre plans.

Last month, English Heritage announced it was scrapping a controversial plan to build a new visitors centre into the base of the motte at the tower.

More joined-up offer

York Castle Museum, as seen from Clifford’s Tower
On Tuesday (July 10), trust bosses are due to talk to city councillors about their work, including plans for a major redevelopment at Castle Gateway.

A report prepared for that meeting reveals they want to “create a more joined up offer” with the neighbouring Clifford’s Tower.

Museums trust chief executive Reyahn King said:

We are in the earliest stages of discussions with English Heritage to ensure that together we offer visitors the best experience of visiting the York Castle area.

These discussions will be central to our plans for the major development of York Castle Museum which will be an integral part of the Castle Gateway Project.

Public consultation will start soon and they want to hear from local people and visitors about what they want for the area, Ms King added.

Best possible visit

Inside the remainder of York’s castle
Andrea Selley, English Heritage’s director for the North of England, said they were still committed to “doing justice to the site”, even though the visitors centre plan was scrapped.

She said:

The Castle Gateway Project will provide opportunities for us to work closer together with the York Museums Trust, and others, on ensuring that our visitors have the best possible visit to both Clifford’s Tower and the Castle Museum.

Later in the week, senior councillors will decide on a land deal with English Heritage. The council had been lined up to lease some land around the Clifford’s Tower to English Heritage, in order to provide it the space to build the new visitors’ centre.

Council officials want to scrap leases for the building and a new plaza, but to go ahead with transferring a portion of the motte they still own to the heritage body.