Gwynedd Council has granted planning permission for a pioneering redevelopment of the King’s Gate at Caernarfon Castle — marking a new chapter in the medieval site’s rich history.
The £4 million project is set to be one of Cadw’s largest and most complex to date, with everything planned from vital conservation work and accessibility improvements, to the introduction of new and immersive interpretation spaces to boost the overall visitor experience.
The approval of plans coincides with the appointment of a main contractor for the project, Rhyl-based Grosvenor Construction, who were selected following a competitive open tender process.
From 30 November 2020, the team at Grosvenor Construction — overseen by Cadw’s expert conservation team — will begin erecting 190 tonnes of scaffolding to gain access to the top of the 25m tall King’s Gate towers.
With renovations due for completion in early 2022, the historic Watergate at the base of the Eagle Tower will form a temporary main entrance — with the gatehouse ceasing to welcome visitors to the Castle for the first time in more than a century.
When the works are complete, the King’s Gate will feature a new viewing deck at the upper level of the gatehouse, and a permanent catering offer — with Cadw set to put the space to market in 2021, offering local businesses the chance to run a café within the castle grounds. Plus, the development work will see the arrival of accessible toilet facilities and a gift shop, as well as brand-new historical interpretation for visitors to enjoy. Meanwhile, important conservation work on the surrounding towers will help to protect the medieval structure for generations to come.
Director at Grosvenor Construction, Will Mellor, said:
“We are honoured to have been awarded the contract for the redevelopment of the King’s Gate. Using our vast expertise in conserving historic monuments, we look forward to bringing the plans to life and playing a valuable part in the castle’s 700-year long history.”
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, added:
“I greatly welcome this announcement, which marks a positive new chapter for Caernarfon Castle and its visitors.
“Making Wales’s past more accessible to people from all walks of life is vital, and through innovative technology, we can unlock unexplored areas of our historic sites while delving deeper into their histories.
“I would like to thank Cadw’s members and visitors for their continued support, which has helped us care for our precious historic buildings during this difficult time.”