Latest phase of £400k Saffron Walden Castle restoration project is under way

PUBLISHED: 14:57 04 September 2014 | UPDATED: 14:57 04 September 2014

Foreman Ian Williams and Ross Jee, from Bakers of Danbury, get to work on the castle.

Foreman Ian Williams and Ross Jee, from Bakers of Danbury, get to work on the castle.

Archant

The third phase of a £400,000 restoration project is under way at Saffron Walden Castle.

The scaffolding is up and repair work started this week on the semaphore tower.The scaffolding is up and repair work started this week on the semaphore tower.

Uttlesford District Council’s specialist contractor Bakers of Danbury, overseen by architects Purcell, began repairs of the masonry walls this week. This is part of an ongoing programme of repairs to stabilise the wall surfaces and remove accumulated vegetation growth, to protect them as much as possible from natural erosion and frost damage.

Councillor Vic Ranger, cabinet member for communities & partnerships at Uttlesford District Council, said: “I am pleased to see that this latest phase of work has started.

“The whole project should be completed in the next two to three years which will make the castle an even bigger tourist attraction and asset to the local community.”

The latest phase involves repairs to the semaphore tower which is the most prominent area of the surviving fabric, and consequently the most vulnerable to decay.

The works involve removing vegetation growth and roots, repointing the wall surface and providing a covering to the recess at the top of the semaphore tower to prevent the build-up of vegetation.

The covering has been subject to consultation with English Heritage and Uttlesford District Council and is designed to minimise the visual impact of the protection on the appearance of the castle remains.

“The semaphore tower is the most prominent feature of the castle and the repair work of it is an exciting phase in the restoration,” Cllr Ranger added.

As part of the current phase of works, preparation will be undertaken for the next phase of repairs which will be to the west curtain wall.

Associate, Simon Marks from Purcell, said: “In the next phase of improvements to the park, the repairs concern the boundary wall on the east and south side.

“Consent for the repairs is currently being sought and it is hoped that we will be able to carry out the works before the end of the year.”

The current phase of work is part of a £400,000, long-term restoration project for the castle.

Last year work took place to stabilise the walls, while earlier this year the boundary wall, railings and gates were overhauled and renewed, and a new level entrance way created to improve access for pedestrians into the castle.

New cycle stands, an interpretation board, bins and new public seating were also provided as part of the scheme.

The process of improving the site will continue with the provision of two further information boards and facilities to encourage stag beetles within the park.

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