Work has begun on two multi-million pound projects to preserve Pontefract’s heritage.
Parts of Pontefract Castle, not seen by the public since the end of the civil war, will be opened up as part of a £3.5m restoration project.
The castle redevelopment, known as the Key to the North project, will see Swillington Tower and Sally Port opened for viewing for the first time since the 1600s.
Two new viewing platforms, a visitor centre, cafe and classroom facilities will be built to help improve the tourist attraction.
The work, funded through a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with contributions from historic England, Wakefield Council, EPaC and the Wolfson Foundation, will also mean the castle is taken off the Heritage at Risk list.
Work is also underway to repair key buildings in Pontefract town centre.
Grade II listed Georgian buildings 1 Market Place and 3 Gillygate are being restored as part of the £1.5m Pontefract Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), jointly funded by Wakefield Council and the HLF to protect the town’s heritage.
It follows the restoration of 5-9 Gillygate which was completed earlier this year.
Coun Denise Jeffrey, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for economic growth and skills, said: “I am delighted that another part of the town is benefiting from this fantastic initiative to safeguard our town’s historic building.
“These buildings represent Pontefract’s rich heritage and this work will ensure that they can be enjoyed for many generations to come.
“This is an exciting time for Pontefract in terms of regeneration.
“The important castle project will also encourage people locally, regionally and nationally to visit Pontefract and the wider Wakefield district, and this will help create jobs and boost the profile of the town.”