The announcement of the reopening of Nottingham Castle on 21 June following transformation work to turn it into a world-class heritage attraction delivers a top priority for Nottingham Labour and is will provide lots of positive opportunities for local people.
It’s going to be great for the people of Nottingham, but the importance of the Castle transformation in attracting more visitors to Nottingham and boosting the local economy should not be underestimated.
The renewed Castle experience is expected to increase regional, national and international visitor numbers from 222,000 to 400,000 in the first full year of opening – with estimate visitor spending a total of over £200m in Nottingham over the next ten years. There will be major benefits for local people with around 420 extra jobs a year expected to be created in the city’s tourism and leisure sectors, that’s on top of the 270 construction jobs the transformation works have generated over the past few years and in addition, opportunities for 500 volunteers going forward. These figures were part of the business case pre covid, so might be lower in the short term due to number restrictions necessary in the first few months of opening.
Looking more widely, the Nottingham Castle project has always been at the heart of the City Council’s vision for the wider regeneration of the city, with £2bn of redevelopments currently underway transforming the city’s Southside and further significant plans in the pipeline such as reimagining the Broadmarsh site, and the developments in the Island Quarter to help Nottingham shine even more brightly on the map.
It’s an incredible achievement for the council to have taken what was a well-loved heritage site and turn it into something that’s truly world class, combining history, legend and modern technology in the Dukal Palace and enhancing the grounds with a new visitor Centre and brilliant adventure playground – and despite Covid, delivering the project on time and on budget.
The significance of the reopening of a rejuvenated Nottingham Castle cannot be over-estimated – especially coming as it does when the whole country is emerging from lockdown. Over the last twelve months, people across this city, and beyond, have endured some of the most challenging set circumstances in a generation. Huge sacrifices have been made and lives have been lost. But we will emerge and be able to meet together again and enjoy this brilliant attraction.