Work to start on improvements at Sandal Castle

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Work to repair public access areas at Sandal Castle could soon get underway with hopes that they will be completed by the end of the year.

More than £734,000 has been set aside by Wakefield Council for improvements and to help preserve the historic monument which has suffered from neglect and vandalism.

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The wooden bridges and steps leading to the keep failed safety checks in 2016, and were shut off to the public.

But work to repair them has now gone out to tender and the council hopes work will be completed, and for the site to be fully re-opened to visitors, by the end of the year.

Restoration work to the historic monument will take place in spring next year.

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The council has also been working with Historic England to identify sites for new benches and information boards, once the bridge, keep and masonry repair works have taken place.

A new gate has been installed and repairs have been carried out to fences to make it more difficult for motorbikes to get on site and to deter vandalism.

Coun Jacquie Speight, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport said: “Sandal Castle is an important part of Wakefield’s heritage and a much-loved place. We value the district’s history and culture and this is why we have injected significant resources.”

Keith Souter, chairman of the Friends of Sandal Castle priased Wakefield Council.

He said: “This is great news and the amount of money allocated should be enough.

“The figure allocated was considered sufficient - it is a considerable sum in these difficult days for local councils.

“It is overdue, but we are conscious that Historic England have to give their permission before anything can be done to the site.

“The longer it takes to start the work, the more it will fall into disrepair and may attract further anti-social behaviour.

“So, we are delighted to hear that it is being done now.”

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Built in the 12th century, Sandal Castle served as the administrative centre for the manor.

The Battle of Wakefield was fought nearby in 1460 during the War of the Roses, while the castle endured a siege during the 17th century which left it largely in ruins.