Is upkeep of Berkhamsted Castle coming home?

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The day-to-day running of Berkhamsted Castle could soon have more of a local feel.

Berkhamsted Town Council is in ‘early’ discussions with English Heritage – which manages the site – to see more local involvement in looking after the site, which dates back to as early as the 11th century.

The motte-and-bailey castle is thought to have been built by William the Conqueror’s half-brother Robert of Mortain.

Over hundreds of years it was a favoured royal residence, and influential historical figures including Thomas Becket and Edward the Black Prince made it their home.

Although the site is owned by HRH The Prince of Wales, it is English Heritage which looks after it.

But Berkhamsted Town Council has formed a Castle Liaison Group which is set to meet with English Heritage, after the charity indicated that it would be willing to see more local involvement.

Janet Mason, clerk of Berkhamsted Town Council, told the Gazette: “We are at the very early stages of this issue.

“In other areas, English Heritage has got local organisations involved in some aspects of running sites. But they would retain overall responsibility.

“We have got our first preliminary meeting and that’s to hear from English Heritage to hear how they see it going forwards.

“The council are interested in facilitating such a meeting.

“The castle is a fantastic asset for the town and a great attraction and something that we take pride in.”

Any such change would see more local involvement. The Gazette understands that the company mowing the site’s grass travels up from Essex.

Tim Cockerill, estates surveyor for English Heritage, said: “We work with local partners at many of the sites for which we are responsible across the country and we’re always looking for ways in which to involve the local community with our properties.

“Berkhamsted Castle is a much loved and valued part of the town and we understand there is interest locally in exploring the possibility of increased local involvement in the management of the site, which is something we are happy to discuss.

“If this resulted in agreement for increased local involvement in managing the monument it would not affect English Heritage’s overall responsibility for Berkhamsted Castle or its maintenance, which would continue.”