Nottingham

Listed Gilstrap Centre in Newark leased to county council despite opposition

The Gilstrap Centre at Newark Castle
Image caption The building at Newark Castle was given to the town by Sir William Gilstrap in 1883

A Grade II listed tourism centre in Nottinghamshire is being turned into a registry office despite opposition from local residents.

The Gilstrap Centre in Newark, located next to Newark Castle, will be leased to Nottinghamshire County Council by the district council.

Save The Gilstrap campaigners said the move would hurt the local economy.

Newark and Sherwood District councillor Roger Jackson said the building was too expensive to run as a tourism centre.

'Impractical' use

Mr Jackson said the building, including its toilets, would still be accessible to the public.

He said that "times are changing" and the public was accessing tourism information on the internet rather than going to tourism centres in person.

Campaigner Alex Peace-Gadsby said: "The castle is the biggest tourist hot spot in the town and if we start suddenly interfering with that we are going to have a serious negative impact on tourism.

"It is very impractical to use as a registry office ... because there is no off-road parking and it is right alongside one of the busiest roads in Newark."

The Gilstrap Centre, which also included a gallery and history exhibition, was given to the town by Sir William Gilstrap in 1883, and was also used as a public library.

Mr Jackson said the future location of the tourism centre was "under consideration", adding the council would "have to deal with" the traffic problems at the castle.

He said: "Hopefully it will encourage people to come to get married in Newark, especially with the background of the castle and its gardens for the wedding photographs."

The building is held in a charitable scheme for which the council is the trustee.

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