GAZETTE readers have had their say over calls for a rooftop garden on Colchester Castle.

Following the castle’s inclusion on Historic England’s At-Risk Register, Colchester City councillor Darius Laws renewed his call for a rooftop castle garden.

He said that although “some dismissed” his idea to sell “coffee and cake during the day and a few G&Ts at night” that “perhaps now is the time to explore all options”.

Mr Laws said the “rooftop garden experience” with catering facilities “could open up new lines of income” as well as “stargazing opportunities”.

Many responses referred to the historic value of the castle being potentially at risk, with Lee Sturgeon saying: “Leave it as it is. It’s meant to be history not a development project”.

Charlotte Carlin agreed and said: “Absolutely not. Why should we ruin history for a rooftop garden when it didn't exist back in the day?”

“Leave it as it is, it’s history”, said Matthew Wilson before Jane Evans replied, and said: “The problem is this and previous councils keep missing the trick... our town history just keeps getting covered up!"

A spokesman for Colchester Council previously said Mr Laws’ idea is an exciting one but would need "very significant investment to deliver as access routes, fire exits, and the nature of the roof would need major adaptation".

The council spokesperson said their “current priority” was the necessary repairs in the northwest tower and roof.

However, not everyone agreed that a rooftop garden would be a bad idea.  

Simon Collis said that if the council follows planning laws and does not cause harm or stress to the building structure, then it should be allowed.

Simon added: “The plus side is the money can be reinvested back into the castle for castle-related business.”

Tracey Luff-Johnson argued that any work should be done in “sympathy with the age of the architecture".

She added: “Do not try to make it appear to seem trendy. If you go the trendy route, it will detract big time.”

Disability access was another reader concern, with the access to the roof currently being only available via a Norman staircase.

Gilly Bolderstone said “75 per cent of people who go in the castle would never see it” unless a lift was installed.

Likewise, regarding the feasibility of the plans, Dorian Kelly argued that it would “cost thousands to replace the roof with steel and pavers”.

“At the moment, it isn’t loadbearing, apart from round the edge where the public are allowed to go with a guide," they said.

Referring to Mr Laws’ comment “imagine the stargazing opportunities”, Maria Moore said: “You need dark skies for that, so the centre of a neon city is probably not the best place for that."

Catherine Kearney questioned the view at all times of the day.

“Why… just to look over the town of the many barber shops, nail shops and fast food outlets, she said.