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Eastnor’s battlements fall to health and safety
EASTNOR Castle has stood proud in the Herefordshire countryside for more than 200 years.
But it seems even the most historic of venues isn’t immune to modern-day changes – including changes to health and safety rules. Now, bosses at the imposing early 19th century castle near Ledbury want to install almost 90 safety bars in the battlements to prevent young visitors falling through the gaps.
General manager David Littlewood said: “It’s one of those complicated things.
“There’s never been an accident in the 200 or so years the castle has been here but we have got to weigh up the safety issue and then we have got to come up with something that fits aesthetically.
“There’s 88 of these gaps. It’s something that has got to be considered carefully.”
Mr Littlewood said the building is a folly, built as a status symbol to replicate a castle.
The gaps between the battlements would, had it been a real castle, been used by defenders with bow and arrows to protect the fortress. Mr Littlewood said the drop between the gaps and the floor below is about 40 feet. Warning signs are already up, but staff at the venue have had to weigh up the safety issue with changing part of the castle’s appearance in a balancing act to protect heritage and visitors. Mr Littlewood said similar bars are already in place at Windsor Castle, where the Queen lives.
The castle has submitted a planning application for the work and Herefordshire Council says a decision on whether it can go ahead should be made by the first week of September.
“Eastnor’s a traditional castle,” he said. “There’s certainly a conflict between whether or not we should change the look of the building. But we’re a responsible venue.
“It’s how we go about it. Of course, it might be refused.”
Construction of Eastnor Castle began in 1810 and finished 10 years later. From a distance it was intended to create the impression of a mediaeval fortress guarding the Welsh Borders.
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