Pevensey Castle is being neglected by English heritage, according to local councillors.
Pevensey councillors Dianne Dear, Lin Clark, Bill Tooley and Tony Freebody have raised the concerns.
In a joint statement they said, “We have concerns and are objecting most strongly to the way the castle, the very core of the village of Pevensey, and a valuable part of both local and national heritage, is being left to become overgrown and neglected.”
English Heritage also owns Castle Cottage which has previously been run as a tearooms. However, the building has been closed and empty for around two years and locals have described it as a ‘wasted tourist attraction’.
The business has been put out to tender and local people have come forward with business propositions for the site. The Herald understands the majority wanted to run the site as a tea room but no-one was appointed by English Heritage.
The councillors added, “It has been left empty for the past two years. Many local people have asked to run the cottage as a tea room again, but this appears to have been ignored by English Heritage.”
In the past, Pevensey has been the backdrop to events and the councillors said, “Pevensey Castle was at the centre of things back in 1066, and the church is busy planning big celebrations, hopefully including a Royal visit, for 2016. 1066 is a date everyone knows, well everyone except English Heritage it seems.”
A spokesperson from English Heritage said it was ‘absolutely committed’ to the castle, had worked with the parish council for the Diamond Jubilee celebration and was in touch with the organisers of the 2016 events.
The spokesperson added, “Several businesses have tried to make a go of the castle’s tearoom over the years, unfortunately none of them successfully. We recently ran a tender process for the tearoom but no-one put forward a genuinely realistic business plan. We don’t want to see another tearoom fail at Pevensey Castle – that’s not good for the castle and that’s not good for the village. Like the rest of the local community, we want to see Castle Cottage brought back into use as soon as possible so we’re now exploring alternatives to a tearoom.
“Finally the maintenance and conservation of Pevensey Castle and the other 400-plus properties in our care lies at the heart of what English Heritage does. In the wake of the 34 per cent cut in our government funding, we need to ensure that those sites with the most significant conservation needs are prioritised. In some respects, these are difficult days for heritage but we remain committed to protecting Pevensey Castle and making it available to everyone to enjoy.”