Plans to boost tourism in Nottingham, centred around the legend of Robin Hood, have been unveiled.
Proposals include the creation of a new visitor center at Nottingham Castle and improving access to the network of caves which lie below.
The ideas have been put forward by a working group, with a public consultation now under way.
In 2009, the city’s only dedicated attraction, the Tales of Robin Hood, closed due to falling visitor numbers.
‘Underused and undersold’
The same year the city council set up a commission, headed by the Sheriff, to brainstorm ideas. Plans for a £25m medieval village at the castle were shelved because of the recession.
The Sheriff’s Commission looked at how Nottingham could make better use of Robin Hood and it recommended the development of a world-class attraction at or near Nottingham Castle.
The commission was succeeded by the business-led Castle Working Group, which used the commission’s findings and further research to shape ideas for the redevelopment of the castle.
Ted Cantle, who headed the working group, speaking to the BBC earlier this month about Robin Hood, said: “There has been a feeling for as long as I can remember that Nottingham has underused and undersold one of its greatest assets.”
Members of the public have now been asked to comment on the castle’s future which could see it hosting a more diverse all-year-round programme of outdoor festivals and events.
The working group also wants to see the castle being connected with other key heritage sites, including Brewhouse Yard and Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem.
The Grade l listed castle attracts almost 270,000 annual visits, Nottingham City Council said.
It plays host to a range of popular annual events including the Robin Hood Beer Festival, Robin Hood Pageant and Outdoor Theatre.
Nottingham City Council’s portfolio holder for leisure, culture and tourism, Councillor David Trimble, said: “We have an enviable asset in Nottingham Castle and the legend of Robin Hood and the Castle Working Group proposals give us a fantastic opportunity to do much more with both of them.
“We know it’s something close to the hearts of local people so we’re very keen to hear what they have to say about these exciting development proposals.”
The public consultation will run from 28 August until 22 September.