Lindisfarne Castle has presented a number of unique challenges in terms of project delivery, relating largely to its uses, location and access, condition and age. Paramount in our work was the need to delicately balance the building’s multiplicity: planning for the Castle as an operational building, a visitor attraction and a workplace, while retaining the heritage significance of this iconic Grade I listed building.
Its exposed island location means that the Castle site is subject to extreme weather and high winds, and the tides dictate access to and from the site. Its SSSI designation of its surroundings shaped our approach to the works. As well as being a historic asset, the Castle is an important habitat – with barn owls and kestrels nesting on site – which had to be safeguarded during delivery.
Many of these nuances had impeded regular cyclical maintenance in the past. As a result of this – and some unsympathetic repairs during previous works – the Castle fabric was in a serious failing condition. As a result, detailed project design, trialling and construction have taken five years.
The age of the building, and its historic significance, warranted the application of increasingly rare specialist traditional skills. Identifying appropriate craftspeople for the project has posed a challenge, as well as an opportunity for our team – and others – to learn and disseminate these skills.
As the project nears completion, these complexities have been effectively addressed, to ensure success in project delivery.