£5.5m renovations planned for Hebridean castle grounds

The grounds of Lews Castle in Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides are set for a £5.5 million overhaul.

Planning applications have been lodged for improvements to the castle grounds, including restoration of historic features such as the formal gardens.

The project is part of a joint initiative between the Stornoway Trust and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to rejuvenate the 160-year-old castle.

They have applied for listed building consent for proposed repairs to historic features including the bastion walls, terrace steps in front of the castle and walls and steps in the former sunken gardens. Proposed new features include a fountain, a shelter in the sunken gardens and new play areas in the Bayhead Embankment and Woodlands Centre area.

New management and maintenance roles will also be created as part of the project.

The overhaul is expected to cost around £5.5 million. It is subject to a funding request being granted from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Parks for People programme, with a funding decision expected to be made in June.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has already supported the restoration of the castle itself, which is expected to open in early autumn.

More information on the proposals can be found on the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar planning portal.

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