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Last Updated: Monday, 29 December, 2003, 12:09 GMT
Historic residence returns to castle
Ludlow Castle
The castle could become an all-weather attraction
A 19th century building in the grounds of Ludlow Castle is not to be transformed into luxury flats.

But the new owners of Castle House have admitted they face a struggle to raise up to 2m to complete ambitious refurbishment plans.

The building, one of the district council's oldest residences, has been sold to the Trustees of the Powis Castle Estate - the owners of Ludlow Castle - for 500,000.

They say reuniting the grade I listed property with the castle will improve the visitor attraction and extend its links with the town.

Their plans include opening the ground floor as well as an education room, tea room, exhibition and function rooms and retail space for local crafts and produce.

Tom Till, resident agent for the Trustees of the Powis Castle Estate, said the project could attract up to 10% more visitors a year but is dependent on raising enough cash.

As a privately owned castle we are at a disadvantage when applying for public funds
Tom Till, Trustees of the Powis Castle Estate

"The idea is for Castle House to be multi-use if we can find help from one source or another to open the ground floor to the public," he said.

"We have tried for 18 months unsuccessfully to gain funding, as a privately-owned castle we are at a disadvantage when applying for public funds."

He said the trustees were considering setting up a building preservation trust as an alternative way of raising funds.

Castle House had formed part of Ludlow Castle but was sold to Ludlow Borough Council after World War II and used as flats for council tenants.

The current South Shropshire District Council kept the flats when the rest of its housing was transferred but it decided to sell them because of the cost of repair.

A developer had approached the council with an offer for the site but this week the council announced the trustees had secured the sale.

A spokesman for the authority said it hoped the capital raised would help generate 14 million in external funding for investment in the town.




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