Future must be secured

A COUNTY councillor has said that everybody needs to work together to achieve the best possible outcome for Ford Castle.

Coun Dougie Watkin, whose Norham and Islandshires ward contains Ford, wants the county council and Ford and Etal Estates, which owns the castle and leases it to the county council, to work together with potential private investors to secure the future of the castle.

He said: “Essentially what the county is saying is that they don’t think they can do the castle justice as it needs a large amount of investment.

“But if we get it right, it could end up even better for the village than what’s there now.”

He also pointed out the examples of Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street and Langley Castle, near Hexham, which are both run as hotels, restaurants and wedding venues, saying that these types of ventures will never happen under a local authority.

A county council spokeswoman said that the lease will continue beyond the end of August when the education centre closes due to the terms of the lease, but they are working with a number of people to find alternative uses.