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Competition: Castle Hill, Dudley

Dudley Castle
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Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (DMBC) is seeking a masterplanner for a major overhaul of its historic Castle Hill district

The chosen team will create a costed masterplan and consider external funding options for a range of projects surrounding the Grade I-listed ruin of Dudley Castle.

Planned improvements include a £3.5 million restoration of the 11th-century castle and a new visitor experience, a new entrance to a network of subterranean limestone caves known as the Stores Cavern, and upgrades to the Castle Hill Woodland. Several structures designed by Berthold Lubetkin’s Tecton Partnership in the 1930s, within the neighbouring Dudley Zoological Gardens (DZG), will be restored, including the discovery centre, restaurant, elephant house and bird house (pictured). Meanwhile, a mixed-use education centre and giraffe house will be created. 

According to the brief: ‘The challenges are to balance the requirement for protection and restoration of the highly significant historical buildings and landscape against the needs of the DZG to meet its tourism and leisure demands, to understand and define the management requirements of DMBC for the Castle Hill woodland, and to meet the outputs of the various funding bodies so that funding can be secured to deliver the projects.’

Dudley Castle was constructed in 1070 on a large outcrop of Much Wenlock Limestone deposited around 428 million years ago. The landmark complex was partially demolished during the English Civil War and is now open as a museum.

The surrounding Castle Hill district features a number of historic limestone workings along with a canal and woodlands. 

Dudley Zoo bird house by Tecton

Dudley Zoo bird house by Tecton

Source: Image by Tony Hisgett

Dudley Zoo bird house by Tecton

The masterplan commission, backed by the Black Country Local Enterprise Council, will deliver a masterplan featuring outline costs for each of the planned individual projects along with potential funding options.

The commission follows a range of major investments in the area, which delivered new road layouts, a new home for the Dudley Archive Centre, a new entrance for DZG and also the restoration of a Tecton-designed entrance pavilion, café, Bear Ravine and kiosk.

Earlier this year Napier Clarke Architects won an open contest for a £5.2 million visitor centre and learning centre at The Black Country Living Museum nearby.

Interested bidders will be expected to include expertise in masterplanning, project development, heritage, tourism, green space management and external funding applications. Experience of working with scheduled monuments, woodlands and architectural conservation will also be required.

The deadline for applications is 28 November.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

Rachael Moore
Black Country Business
Priory Road
West Midlands

Tel: 01384 814407
Email: rachael.moore@dudley.gov.uk 

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