Sheffield’s lost castle will be at the centre of a £5million scheme designed to regenerate the original heart of the city.
Plans for the Castlegate and Riverside areas have been revealed – although the go-ahead is dependent on the majority of the funding being secured through competitive bidding.
The council has committed to providing just over £1 million of the cash needed.
When final demolition of Castle Market is completed – the final phase beginning in October – work will begin on the excavation of the ruins of Sheffield Castle.
Previously unexplored areas will be investigated by archaelogists and the remains will become part of a new park.
Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, skills and development, said: “We have waited for a very long time for this opportunity to start the transformation of Castlegate – the site where Sheffield was born.
“While the rediscovery of Sheffield’s castle is hugely interesting in itself, the project will contribute significantly to the wider regeneration of the area as well as to the city.
“Looking into the future, the Castlegate area could become an area of real historical significance for visitors, a green area where leisure pursuits can be enjoyed, and an area where vacant buildings are being regenerated and brought back into use.”
Excavation work will be followed by restoration work and the construction of the new Castle Park.
Initial designs include the reconstruction of the main entrance to the castle, known as the Great Bastion, on its original foundations, including a drawbridge over the re-excavated moat.
The top priority is to involve as many people as possible throughout the discovery of the castle.
Other plans being explored include a currently hidden stretch of the River Sheaf, just before it meets the Don, being brought back above ground to reduce flood risk and bring it into the park area.