Latest News - Tioram Conservation Project
7 JUNE 2002
Anta submit compromise scheme to save Castle
Castle Tioram is presently in extremely poor condition. In his findings Public Inquiry Reporter Mr. Graeme Duncan agreed that further major collapse within the short term was likely, and confirmed that major consolidation work has to be put in-hand as soon as possible if Tioram is to be saved.
The current legal appeal in the Court of Session is unlikely to be heard for another 12 to 18 months, during which further irreplaceable historic fabric will be lost and the Castle will remain closed due to the risk of collapse. In March Highland Council, recognising this problem, called upon Anta Estates and Scottish Ministers to come together and agree a compromise solution which will save the Castle.
Whilst Anta resolutely remains of the view that the public inquiry findings are fatally flawed and failed to take account of the evidence presented, it is clear that a prolonged legal dispute will leave the Castle to become little more than a pile of rubble.
In order to ensure the conservation of Tioram without further delay, Anta Estates have therefore reviewed and amended the original proposals, submitting a substantially revised scheme which addresses all of the concerns identified by the public local inquiry. These include:
Further detailed investigation into the Castle's history by a team of nationally-recognised experts in order to ensure that the conservation work continues to based upon solid evidence and the most comprehensive research possible.
Rebuilding of poor quality Victorian repairs in order to ensure that this is a fully accurate reconstruction of the seventeenth century castle.
A revised archaeological strategy retaining as much as possible untouched for future generations, whilst also involving local bodies in the work and providing the public with access to the digs.
Legal guarantees to provide unrestricted public access to Eilean Tioram and 49 days per year to the interior of the Castle together with a comprehensive interpretative information for visitors.
A guarantee that work will begin during 2003, and be completed within four years, together with the provision of a financial bond which will allow Scottish Ministers to complete the work and re-open the Castle to the public if Anta fail to do so, all at no cost to the taxpayer.
With all of the original concerns fully addressed, Ministers now have an opportunity to save Tioram for future generations and re-opened to the public as soon as possible.
Continuing public support for the proposals is essential if Tioram is to be saved. There are no other proposals on the table, nor is it likely that such well-researched and fully funded plans can be brought so quickly. Historic Scotland have already made it clear that they would rather the Castle collapsed than allow Anta's proposals to go ahead. Those who support our plans to save this important piece of our heritage are urged to make their feelings known to the Ministers concerned:
Jack McConnell, First Minister Jack.Mcconnell.firstname.lastname@example.org
Lord Watson, Minister for Tourism, Culture & Sport Mike.Watson.email@example.com
Please email them with your views and send a copy of your email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
John A Hansen