FURIOUS residents have hit out at proposals to build a 80 room hotel at Warwick Castle.
Castle bosses at Merlin Entertainment – which owns the building and grounds – have set out a masterplan to develop the castle over the next ten years.
The plan includes a 50 to 80 room hotel close to the Knights Village – currently home to glamping and cabin accommodation – and converting rooms in Guys Tower into bedrooms, which would replicate the two overnight rooms currently offered in neighbouring Caesar’s Tower.
Two cottages known as Porters Lodge at the original entrance on Banbury Road could also be refurbished and renovated for overnight stays.
The proposals also mention a new cafe, moving the gift shop and opening up more areas of the castle which are currently used as office space.
Angry residents took to social media to slam the plans.
One said: “Merlin Entertainment should never have been allowed to buy Warwick Castle, they have made a mockery of this important part of our past – history dumbed down for idiots at a very expensive price.”
And another said: “Merlin Entertainments is an entirely inappropriate organisation to own and run the finest medieval castle in England. It’s been getting progressively tackier for many years, and now this. If there are any funds left after the banking fiasco, the government should slap a compulsory purchase order on it and turn it over to the National Trust. At any rate, planning permission for this obscene proposal should be absolutely and irrevocably refused.”
But castle divisional director Nick Blofeld says the plans have been well received by neighbours.
He told the Observer: “Submitting these plans now is a requirement under Warwick District Council’s local plan. We have to lay out what we are planning on doing over the next five years.
“We held a meeting with around 60 residents who all responded very positively to these plans. I think the key thing is that any development is done sensitively.”
The only application which is currently officially going through is for glamping facilities, which have been on the site for several years.
The development masterplan for the castle has been submitted to the council and local groups for consideration.
A public consultation into the temporary glamping facilities will take place next weekend (October 7 and 8) at the castle in the Knights Village.