Severndroog budget under pressure due to vandalism

The £1m budget for Severndroog Castle is likely to be exceeded due to vandalism as renovation work continues.

Leader of Greenwich Conservatives Cllr Spencer Drury visited the Castle on the Sunday of Open House weekend where he spoke with a number of people who have campaigned for the restoration of the building over the last decade.  The sense of frustration over continuing vandalism was palpable, with freshly installed window frames being kicked in by individuals who had climbed the scaffolding during the night.  Despite having alarms rigged up on the scaffolding, problems continued and Barry Gray (Chairman of the Severndroog Castle Building Preservation Trust) informed Spencer that the Trust was now having to spend £1,600 per week on a security guard to stay on site each night. 


In addition to the cost of the security guard and the extra costs incurred from vandalism the project has also found a range of problems resulting from the long-term neglect of the building by Greenwich Council.  This too has added to the costs.


Currently the extra costs are being contained by removing planned items from the scheme, like a stone plinth to go under the Georgian railings which will surround the Castle when the restoration is complete.


To add insult to injury, Greenwich Council had changed the lock on the gate to get up to Severndroog Castle and not provided the Trust with a key, meaning the Open House morning of talks and updates started late as organisers had to carry equipment like tables from the car park up to the site. 


Spencer, whose first speech on Greenwich Council ten years ago opposed Labour plans to sell off Severndroog Castle and the surrounding area to a private developer,  said “I genuinely felt sorry for Barry Gray and the other members of the Trust.  They have worked so hard and done wonderfully to raise the money for this project, but are now struggling to keep the renovation within budget due to factors beyond their control.”


“I simply cannot understand the mentality of individuals who damage a wonderful historical building like this.  Their behaviour affects us all as it means that the finished restoration will be of a lower standard than would otherwise be the case.”


“I have written to the Council to see if they can help to prevent further vandalism and ensure that the restoration of Severndroog Castle is as good as it could possibly be.  I know it isn’t in the north of the borough where the Labour Council target their spending, but this building deserves to be saved as it is part of our history and needs to be properly restored for future generations to use and enjoy.”