Norfolk

Norwich Castle: £13m keep revamp approved by council

Artist's impression of the Great Hall Image copyright Norwich Museums Service
Image caption Plans have been put forward to recreate the medieval great hall in the castle keep

A £13m scheme to transform Norwich Castle Museum and recreate its medieval keep has been given the go-ahead.

The proposals include reinstating the keep's original Norman floor level. The castle has dominated the city's skyline since it was built in the 12th Century.

Plans were opposed by the Victorian Society over concerns at the loss of a late 19th Century balcony built by local architect Edward Boardman.

But officers supported the scheme and it was backed by city councillors.

The transformed keep, which will also include a new medieval gallery designed in partnership with the British Museum, is due to reopen in 2020.

The scheme is part-funded by a £9.2m National Lottery Heritage fund grant.

Image copyright Norfolk Museums Service
Image caption New exhibition space is being planned for the museum

Norwich City Council's planning committee heard that the redevelopment would also include new visitor facilities such as a cafe and shop and new "digital and learning spaces".

The recreated great hall in King Henry I's castle will be complete a King's chamber and chapel, according to the museum.

Newly-exposed Norman archaeology and architecture will offer an insight into the castle's past and a viewing platform at battlement level will offer stunning of medieval and present-day Norwich.

Image copyright Norfolk Museums Service
Image caption The keep has dominated the city's skyline since it was built in the 12th Century

A report to the committee says the Victorian Society "strongly objects" to the plans.

It says: "Boardman's work has been a part of the castle for almost 125 years... The proposal to destroy the Boardman elements will flatten out this character,

exchanging the complex accretions of a long historical development for a one dimensional representation of an imagined 'medieval' past."

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