Councillors’ castle concerns

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Pevensey Castle is being neglected by English heritage, according to councillors.

Pevensey councillors Dianne Dear, Lin Clark, Bill Tooley and Tony Freebody have raised the concerns.

In a joint statement strongly objected to the way the castle, the very core of the village of Pevensey, and a valuable part of both local and national heritage, was being left to become overgrown and neglected.

English Heritage also owns Castle Cottage which has previously been run as a tea room.

But the building has been empty for about two years and residents have described it as a ‘wasted tourist attraction’.

The business has been put out to tender and a number of business propositions for the site have been put forward.

It is believed the majority of interested parties want to run the site as a tea room but no-one was appointed by English Heritage.

The councillor’s statement said: “It has been left empty for the past two years. Many local people have asked to run the cottage as a tea room again, but this appears to have been ignored by English Heritage.”

The statement added: “Pevensey Castle was at the centre of things back in 1066, and the church is busy planning big celebrations, hopefully including a Royal visit, for 2016.”

A spokesperson from English Heritage said it was ‘absolutely committed’ to the castle, had worked with the parish council for the Diamond Jubilee celebration and was in touch with the organisers of the 2016 events.

He added: “Several businesses have tried to make a go of the castle’s tea room over the years, unfortunately none of them successfully. We recently ran a tender process for the tea room but no-one put forward a genuinely realistic business plan. We don’t want to see another tea room fail at Pevensey Castle – that’s not good for the castle and that’s not good for the village.

“Finally the maintenance and conservation of Pevensey Castle and the other 400-plus properties in our care lies at the heart of what English Heritage does.

“In the wake of the 34 per cent cut in our government funding, we need to ensure those sites with the most significant conservation needs are prioritised. In some respects, these are difficult days for heritage.”

but we remain committed to protecting Pevensey Castle and making it available to everyone to enjoy.”