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Vision to enhance Norwich’s Castle Gardens for the public

PUBLISHED: 10:11 28 July 2016 | UPDATED: 13:45 28 July 2016

The Norwich Castle gardens, bustling with people in the sunshine. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Norwich Castle gardens, bustling with people in the sunshine. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2016

Perched above the city, the distinctive outline of Norwich Castle is one of the city’s most familiar landmarks.

The Norwich Castle gardens, bustling with people in the sunshine. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Norwich Castle gardens, bustling with people in the sunshine. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

But while it is also a treasured historic gem - and one of our most popular attractions - the gardens it sits atop are sometimes overlooked in favour of pockets of green elsewhere.

Now, the Castle Gardens and Green are now being targeted in a drive which hopes to attract more footfall and unlock the area’s potential.

As John Litster of the Norwich Society writes here, local charities, Norwich City Council, Norfolk County Council and bodies including the Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) gathered for a so-called public realm workshop at the end of June to discuss how to take the gardens out of the castle’s shadow.

It is hoped the ideas - which include working with local musicians, entertainers and eateries - will strengthen connections between the medieval castle and both the surrounding open spaces and former moat below.

Stefan Gurney, executive director of the BID, said making the garden layout more straightforward and creating a “statement piece” to mark the entrance to the moat - which is home to the open-air Whiffler Theatre - were among the ideas mooted.

He said: “In particular, on the side where the Castle Mall car park is, it’s only marked by a very small gate. The opportunity could be, if funding was available, to create a much more visitor-friendly gateway in to the area and connect up to Rose Lane and improve access to the castle.”

But he said that while there were some “clear interventions” that could enhance the gardens, ideas would need to be “achievable” and funding streams identified.

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said they were working closely with their county council colleagues.

“As the owners of Castle Gardens we’ve already been working collaboratively with the county council’s Norfolk Museums Service to explore how the gardens and surrounding area can be put to best use for everyone’s shared enjoyment as part of the exciting plans for the castle,” they said.

The workshop was held as part of the wider multi-million pound Heritage Lottery Fund project transform the castle keep into a premier heritage attraction.

Last December, thousands visited the gardens to try out the Evening News’ ice rink, which is expected to return this year from December 16 to January 8.

• What do you think should be done to improve the gardens? Write in the comments below or email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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8 comments

  • I really would like to see the activities of Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) under more scrutiny. Apart from sound bites the only visible (and virtual) achievements in their 4 years which they have been responsible for are an ineffective Discover Norwich App, some questionable murals, wifi hot spots that don't work and some consultation about trams. Given they are funded via levy on the value of business premises I really think they should be more accountable. At least getting involved in this little scheme will at least keep the board (which numbers 20) and a paid staff of circa 10 people busy!

    Report this comment

    Bowing_Out

    Thursday, July 28, 2016

  • The lower eastern terrace, yet again, newness and freshness of the place. when edp24 puts my other coments and pictures up you get the idea... do start messing around with this area. maintain it fully and do it up!

    Castle_Green_lower_eastern_terrace_[7062]_1993-09-09

    Report this comment

    bencaren

    Thursday, July 28, 2016

  • Castle Green looking North

    Castle_Green_view_north_[7063]_1993-09-09

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    bencaren

    Thursday, July 28, 2016

  • Castle Green Mall Rooftop Park

    Castle_Green_mall_rooftop_park_[6991]_1993-05-24

    Report this comment

    bencaren

    Thursday, July 28, 2016

  • Castle Green Cascade

    Castle_Green_cascade_at_west_end_of_mall_[7120]_1994-04-05

    Report this comment

    bencaren

    Thursday, July 28, 2016

  • Its a shame that they removed this pretty main entrance, Gave the impression that you would be entering an area of tranquility. Where the stone is now located, just behind, there are building materials "Buff wall copings" that have been ripped from the various masonary structures belonging to the Castle Mall. Castle Mall Maintenance should replace any missing copings that are lying in the dead unplanted space behind the stone. They should also clean up the area, clean repoint the area's of brickwork where the steps are. Clean the copings in this area, carry out any repairs and once done, clean and refill the plant bed with fresh soil and compost behind the stone and plant it full of nice long lasting plants, including palms. remove any graffti from the stone, clean it and apply a protective polish for it.

    The new entrance in to the Castle Gardens built during the construction of the Castle Mall with the dedication stone.

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    bencaren

    Thursday, July 28, 2016

  • The Castle Mall area's of the gardens which legally and physically seperate from what Norwich City Council own, are the decent area's of the gardens. On the Castle Mall's view, I understand from them that the large moat waterfeature including the waterfall are being looked at and once they have completed the internal enhancement works to the centre which include the new top quality resturant quarter, the waterfall and moat will be next on the list. Norwich City council do need to maintain the various planting area's much better than theey do currently, and also remove all the "Norwich Castle Museum" stickers from the metalwork to one of the entrances which looks very grotty because of it. Also remove all traces of Graffti from around the gardens in the malls area. A thorough litter pick is required. The Castle Mall's Green is actually in a terrible state, due to the council note making sure it was maintained, its very patchy now and muddy, a far cry from the lovely vivid green carpet it was when the mall was opened. Castle Mall did its bit and Norwich City council has done the bare minimum leading to the detoration of the area. Castle Mall however should make sure that all the "building and hard landscaping elements" are in good condition, clean and structurally sound. there are various elements of the malls fabric that need some attention.

    Report this comment

    bencaren

    Thursday, July 28, 2016

  • It would be helpful to hear in detail what these so called "Improvement Ideas are" It would be important to note that the photo shown is of the Castle Mall area of the gardens and this part is owned by Castle Mall but the city council are required to maintain it in an agrement that was written when the mall was built. The city council have no authority to go about changing this area, just maintain it. When it was new the gardens here won a special landscape award and were designed by a top class landscape architect. Over many years since then City Council has failed to maintain them properly resulting in the gardens losing some of their appeal. The area outside of the Castle Mall is where NCC own it and can do what they like. But there needs to be a coherent plan with high quality ideas. I would suggest cleaning, better lighting in some areas a police patrol to reduce crime and new paving throughout.

    Report this comment

    bencaren

    Thursday, July 28, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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