Castle gates aim to stop vandalism

Friends: They called for castle protection back in 2016.
Friends: They called for castle protection back in 2016.

A new gate has been installed at Sandal Castle to help put a stop to vandalism and anti-social behaviour at the historic monument.

Wakefield Council has put the ‘kissing gate’ in place, next to the main gate.

Karen Collins, service director for culture and sport, said: “Sandal Castle is a very important part of our local heritage which is enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year.

“Unfortunately, we have had to install a new gate to help deter anti-social behaviour and vandalism to the monument, which has cost thousands to clean-up. We have received numerous complaints from neighbours, the Castle’s Friends group and Sandal Community Association about anti-social behaviour on the site.

“The new gate is part of a series of measures, including CCTV and increased security patrols overnight.”

The Friends of Sandal Castle said the move would help prevent vehicles accessing the site at night.

Chairman Dr Keith Souter said: “This is very positive. We keep in communication with the council officers and this is a clear demonstration of how seriously they consider the problem of anti-social behaviour.

“Most of the damage seems to occur after the gates are locked in the evenings, so the gate should stop motorcycles from entering after hours to joyride round the castle. This and the CCTV are to be welcomed.”

Wooden bridges and steps leading to the top of the site have been closed for health and safety reasons since March 2016. The monument has since been targeted by vandals, first in September 2016 and again in July 2017. Damage included graffiti being sprayed on the ruins and vehicles being recklessly driven on to the hillside.

More than £700k of investment is being planned for the site to restore the walkways and bring the Keep back into use. And the council plans to consult with residents in summer about access to the site. The main gates will remain open as usual.