Beyond The Castle focuses on the urban green space and ancient monument site in Lancaster between the River Lune and Lancaster Castle, its integration within the city and the wider heritage offer.
Lancaster City Council and Lancashire County Council are leading on Beyond the Castle. The project seeks to work with the community and partners to develop proposals and to secure investment into the site over the next 5 -10 years.
Beyond the Castle is part of the wider Lancaster Square Routes Project. It started in 2012 with the Lancaster University led PROUD co-design process – PROUD standing for ‘People, Researchers and Designers working together’. PROUD funded by EU INTERREG generated a wealth of ideas, key values and themes for the site.
Themes following a review of the PROUD outcomes and early feasibility work:
- The site is of international heritage value; the site profile and site understanding need to be developed and sympathetic landscape management plans need to be put in place.
- Digital technology is likely to play a significant role in the development of the site to develop the visitor offer and bring to life the area’s rich history and heritage (site interpretation, site animation such as games and trails, connection to the wider heritage offer, way finding, supporting and managing the visitor experience). We need to explore suitable platforms and technologies and create space for a creative engagement with the area’s history, heritage and narrative so that digital technology solutions can evolve.
- We need to develop capacity as Beyond the Castle is not funded beyond a small annual contribution from Lancashire County Council. Capacity development can take the shape of funding bids, partnerships, volunteer input and contributions.
- Some further feasibility work is required before zoning and concept plans for the site can be developed (proposed new access route below Mitre House).
- We need to engage Quayside residents and businesses to develop representation and ownership.
- Collaboration with arts and heritage partners, local businesses and residents groups required to shape the development of proposals for the area.
- Scale – ambitious longer term planning and big thinking need to be combined with short and midterm changes on the ground and activities to engage communities and develop buy-in.
- Understand key delivery partners and mechanisms.
- First things first – eradication of the Japanese Knotweed on site and threat to the archaeology through tree encroachment need to be prioritised.
We are now working on the exploration and feasibility of the ideas and values expressed through the PROUD process with help from The Heritage Lottery Fund.