Battle begins to reclaim castle for local community

By Linzi Watson

Battle begins to reclaim castle for local community

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GLASGOW'S only Medieval castle should be handed over to the community to "bring it out of the Dark Ages", it was claimed today.

Greater Pollok councillor David McDonald said Crookston Castle, the city's second oldest building after Glasgow Cathedral, is suffering from years of under investment.

Today he criticised Historic Scotland, which manages the South Side landmark, over its "inaction" and accused it of "standing in the way of Crookston Castle becoming a vibrant community space".

Councillor McDonald is calling for the castle, which dates back to the 12th century, to be given to local people to manage and run in the hope of attracting more visitors.

He told the Evening Times: "The castle is unique, sitting in the middle of a housing estate, and it ought to be in regular use by and for the community.

"But due to years of under investment it has no future as a ruin.

"Historic Scotland have shown no desire to meet with me, despite several requests, and no-one recalls the last time they made any serious investment in improving the visitor experience to Glasgow's second oldest building and only remaining Medieval castle.

"The castle walls were built to repel invaders, but now it's visitors who are being kept out due to inaction from Historic Scotland."

Crookston Castle was donated to the National Trust for Scotland in 1931 by Sir John Stirling Maxwell.

Poets Robert Burns, William Motherwell and Robert Tannahill all mentioned the castle in their works and Sir Walter Scott, in his 1820 novel The Abbot, suggested Mary Queen of Scots watched the 1568 Battle of Langside from its battlements.

Mr McDonald said local people feel strongly about seeing the historic castle improved.

He said: "I've recently met with arts groups who want to utilise the castle, but Historic Scotland are standing in the way of Crookston becoming a vibrant community space that people could enjoy visiting.

"If Historic Scotland don't feel up to the job of building a more positive future for the castle then they should let the local community take over the day to day management of the facility.

"We have the energy, ideas and commitment to bring the castle out of the Dark Ages."

A spokeswoman for Historic Scotland said: "We are happy to discuss and explore future management options for Crookston Castle with relevant parties in order to ensure the protection of the monument's significance".

The castle is surrounded by a 12th century defensive ditch, created when Sir Robert Croc built a wooden castle on the site.

linzi.watson@ eveningtimes.co.uk