Future of Sandsfoot Castle to be discussed

Key stakeholders and specialists are coming together tomorrow, Wednesday 7 September, to discuss future options for Sandsfoot Castle.

Officers from Dorset Council, which owns the castle, will meet with representatives from Historic England, Weymouth Town Council, Natural England the Jurassic Coast Trust to discuss the options available to help preserve the Castle.

In November 2021, Sandsfoot Castle which is a Scheduled Monument, was added to Historic England’s ‘At Risk’ Register, as it continued to deteriorate. In January 2021, the council fenced the Castle off to the public after cracks appeared on its walls, and health and safety concerns were raised.

A structural survey of the Castle has been undertaken by Historic England and a feasibility study is being carried out by consultants Aecom, who have produced a list of options to discuss with stakeholders.

The list of options to manage coastal erosion that threatens the castle, range from doing nothing to implementing high-cost cliff stabilisation work including drainage to help stop the cliff from further erosion.

Cllr Tony Ferrari, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Assets and Property, said:

“It’s important that we are discussing the options for the Castle this week with our stakeholders. Their views and direction will help inform the next steps. We must be mindful that while the castle is a scheduled monument and much-loved local landmark, it does sit at the top of a very unstable cliff, which is rapidly eroding.

“Significant defence works would have the most impact on the Jurassic Coast, have the highest carbon footprint and be the most expensive option but would deliver the best long-term stability to the Castle. At the other end of the scale, we could make no intervention.  This would have lowest environmental impact and cost but would eventually result in the loss of this Scheduled Monument.

“I would like to ask the people of Dorset what would they like to see happen with the Castle? Do we let it succumb to the elements, do we spend lots of money stabilising the cliffs to stop it falling into the sea, or should we try and find a middle ground which will do both?”

If you have a view on what you think the council should do to protect the castle, or not, please email property.helpdesk@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk by 30 September.

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