We would like to inform residents that the Castle Gardens will unfortunately be closed until April this year whilst survey and investigations continue on the Castle Ruins. Due to the scaffold onsite the whole of the Castle Gardens is now a construction site in compliance with the Construction Design Management (CDM) Regulations 2015, the site is alarmed and monitored with CCTV. Until now it has proven impossible to provide temporary safety fencing within the grounds closer to the ruins due to the land contours and restrictions with archaeology in the ground.
Historic England have now given us permission to secure safety fencing into the ground. The safety fencing needs to be to a bespoke design that meets CDM regulations and to limit expenditure we also need to utilise safety fencing from the current construction site on the Bull Croft Park which will become free at end of March, rather than buy or rent more for a protracted period.
The Castle Ruins project is split into two phases; Development and Survey to be completed by mid-May 2022 and the Repair Works phase which is currently due to be completed by November 2022. We have been awarded a grant from Historic England of £32,500 towards estimated Development and Survey costs of £40,747 and an in-principle grant offer of £250,700 towards eligible Repair Works costs of £313,478.
The projected costs are subject to review depending on what is discovered during the initial Development and Survey phase. We are also pleased to announce Cllr Katharine Keats-Rohan has also secured a further £50,000 in match funding towards the project from The Wolfson Foundation. This currently means only £21,025 of projected costs will need to come from Wallingford Town Council so long as construction costs remain feasible and in line with our architect’s estimates.
Historic England are currently reviewing their payment plan for the grant payments in line with their year-end finances so we await confirmation from them to progress with cutting back the existing vegetation upon the Castle Ruins which will enable further detailed surveys by our consulting architects, ecologists, structural engineer and 3D scanning by archaeologists. We do not wish to become liable for all of the Development and Survey costs if for some reason grant was not honoured by Historic England. The project is ready to go and we look forward to bringing you further news and reopening the Castle Gardens in April ready for the public to see the Repair Works phase progress from June 2022.
Please do contact the Council Offices if you have any questions regarding the project.
Estates Officer, Wallingford Town Council