Talks held on future of castle

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Residents in Hillsborough have been asked to share their views on the future of Hillsborough Castle.

Hillsborough Castle is the official resident of the Queen in Northern Ireland and the home of the Secretary of State.

Recently the Castle was taken over by Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), who have entered into consultations with local residents about how best to development the castle and grounds.

Historic Royal Palaces took over control of Hillsborough Castle on April 1 and intend to develop the Castle and open it up to the public.

There was controversy over a decision by Historic Royal Palaces to evict the charity Praxis from its home in the Secret Garden in the grounds of the Castle.

Now Historic Royal Palaces hope to engage the local community and reach agreement on what should be done to further develop the well known Hillsborough landmark.

Local councillor Alexander Redpath has welcomed the commencement of consultation meetings between the public and Historic Royal Palaces. “I welcome these meetings between local residents and HRP and believe it’s an example of good practice to inform the community before formally planning applications are made,” said Mr Redpath.

“I was fortunate enough to attend one of these meetings at the invitation of constituents and the plans are very ambitious. The big concerns of local residents are parking and traffic.

“Innovative solutions will have to be found to develop Hillsborough Castle as a viable attraction whilst minimising the impact on local residents. I welcome the fact that HRP intent to engage with residents throughout the development process and believe that collaboration is essential if this development is to succeed.”