Sandal Castle plans revealed - or are they?

Sandal Castle
Sandal Castle

Wakefield Council has hinted that conservation and repair work could be carried out to protect one of the district's most historic sites.

In his Follow the Leader column in the Express last week, council leader Coun Peter Box said a proposal to invest in Sandal Castle would soon be discussed.

Coun Box kept details of the proposal under wraps.

But on Thursday a statement was posted on the council-run Sandal Castle Official Facebook page, suggesting that a bridge and walkways at the site, which have been closed since a safety inspection last March, would be restored.

It said: "Sandal Castle is open and ready to welcome visitors, despite some areas being closed to the public.

"The bridge to the Bailey and the steps up the Keep are currently closed due to safety concerns.

"Plans have been drawn up to repair the bridges and walkways alongside urgent conservation works to the monument and we are trying to secure the necessary funds to do this.

"Due to the nature of the work any repairs will need to take place in Spring / Summer so will not start until next year at the earliest, funds permitting."

Commenting in response to the post, the Friends of Sandal Castle group said: "The Friends have been concerned about the state of the castle and understand the importance of the safety issues that caused closure of the walkways and bridges.

"We are aware of proposals for repairs and sincerely hope that the necessary funding can be found and approved.

"The success of the transformation of the visitor centre into the Castle Cafe demonstrates how important the site is to the people of Wakefield and surrounding area as an amenity and also as an important historical site."

The following day, the original Sandal Castle Official Facebook post was amended, with details of the plans hastily removed.

The revised statement read: "Sandal Castle is open and ready to welcome visitors, despite some areas being closed to the public.

"The bridge to the Bailey and the steps up the Keep are currently closed due to safety concerns. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by some parts of the castle being closed, but we need to ensure that the site is safe.

"We are looking at options and how to restore these and hope they will reopen as soon as possible."

Last September, the authority said it was looking to secure external funding for the repairs to the bridge and walkways. It said initial indications were that the work would cost more than £175,000.

The Express has contacted Wakefield Council for comment on the proposed investment, but has not yet received a response.