CONSTRUCTION WORK IS UNDERWAY in the grounds of historic Hylton Castle to provide the new utility and storage building needed for when it re-opens as a visitor centre.

The £4.million restoration project supported by Sunderland City Council in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund, will return the 14th Century building to the centre of community life as a cultural heritage, education and visitor centre.

As internal and external structural restoration continues at the castle, construction work in the ground is also taking shape.

In one of her last official duties as Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Doris MacKnight, accompanied by her Mayoral Consort, Mr Keith MacKnight, visited the site to see the progress being made.

The Mayor, Cllr MacKnight said: “As a local ward councillor and long-time member of the Castle in the Community voluntary group which campaigned for more than 20 years to have this much loved landmark restored, I’m proud to see what’s being achieved.

“This has always been a community led project, and a big part of the project is to use the restoration project to create education, employment and training opportunities for local people,

“With that in mind I was delighted to join one of the first trainees being taken on in a variety of roles, Connor Lormor, who has been employed by the site contractor William Birch and Sons to work and train in construction.”

Elanor Johnson, Learning Manager for the Hylton castle Project said: “We were so pleased to welcome the Mayor back to the castle as we’ve made a lot of progress since her last visit. We’re looking forward to welcoming local people on our hard hat tours over the summer and autumn.”