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Welsh Government backs quest to save historic castle

11 Jan 2024 3 minute read
Ruperra Castle has fallen into disrepair and is at risk of collapse

Emily Price

The Welsh Government has backed a quest by campaigners to save an ancient Welsh castle which is at risk of collapse.

Ruperra Castle near Draethen is one of only a handful of its kind left in the UK but has fallen into ruin under private ownership.

The Welsh Government today agreed to contribute a grant towards a structural survey and a detailed historic building record for the monument near Caerphilly.

Built in 1626, the castle is a significant part of Welsh history but has gradually deteriorated since an accidental fire gutted the site in 1941.

In October last year, campaigners fighting to save the grade II* listed building presented a 10,000-name petition to the Senedd and MSs debated a call for compulsory conservation of ancient monuments in Wales.

Majestic

During the debate, Caerphilly MS Hefin David urged the owner of the castle, Mr Alkhafaji to find a way to preserve the majestic monument.

Dawn Bowden, the deputy minister who is responsible for heritage decided not to make conservation management plans compulsory for the 14% of scheduled monuments at risk in Wales.

Instead, she agreed to meet with members of the Ruperra Castle Preservation Trust to discuss the situation at the historical site further.

Today, Ms Bowden announced that the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, Cadw, will contribute a grant towards structural surveys at the site.

The owner of Ruperra Castle will also be contributing to the work which will include selective de-vegetation so that the standing fabric can be inspected by a conservation accredited structural engineer and a level 4 historic building record produced by a professional historic building specialist.

The work will provide an up-to-date understanding of the condition of the structure and any defects to help inform the owner of next steps.

Meeting

Cadw will also be facilitating a meeting with campaigners and the owner of Ruperra Castle  to discuss establishing an agreement for collaborative working.

Campaigners say the work is a “vital first step” in securing Ruperra Castle’s future.

A spokesperson from the Ruperra Castle Preservation Trust said: “We are delighted that the structural survey will be taking place as it is the vital first step in securing the castle’s future and will also help to understand a safe area around the castle to get the public right of way re-opened.

“We are looking forward to meeting the owner of Ruperra Castle to discuss any opportunities for collaborative working. We’d like to thank the Deputy Minister, Cadw, and the owner of Ruperra Castle for making this happen, and are grateful to all our supporters and Members of Senedd that have shown their support and encouragement to raise awareness of this nationally important monument.”

Hefin David, Member of the Senedd for Caerphilly said: “This is good progress. I am pleased that Cadw and the Deputy Minister see the importance of supporting the owner and the Trust in working to protect Ruperra Castle, as a piece of our local history.

“I will continue to work with all parties and I think that a collaborative approach going forward will be a very positive step in keeping these valuable conversations going.”


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