Ambitious plans could see new life breathed into Sunderland’s historic Hylton Castle.
Proposals have been submitted by east Durham-based Beaumont Brown Architects to turn the ancient site into a “heritage-led learning centre”.
Work to the interior of the castle would take place, with an entrance area, cafe, learning rooms and toilets created.
As well as new internal walls, floors, stairs and a lift, new window glazing would be installed with car parking spaces created too.
The castle, off Craigavon Road, is a Grade I-listed building which was placed on the Historic England “heritage at risk” register back in 2009.
Built between 1390 and 1400 for Sir William Hylton, the remaining gatehouse was part of a larger complex of manorial buildings, which have since been lost.
Today, only four of the castle’s original walls are standing, together with a section of the roof over the small fourth floor.
In recent years, the castle and its grounds have hosted re-enactments of historical battles by heritage groups.
The voluntary group Friends of Hylton Castle has been working for the last 20 years to bring the castle back into use.
Earlier this year the fortress hosted a free family fun day to show visitors what they hope to achieve with the castle’s renovation.
Councillor Denny Wilson, who represents the Castle ward, said: “We’re really pleased to see this application submitted because it’s been 20 years of work.
“This will be brilliant for Sunderland.
“There is only one castle in our city but unlike the ones in Durham and Newcastle there are fields around ours.
“It will be a real asset.”
A consultation over the plans, which can be seen on Sunderland City Council’s planning portal, ends on Friday, August 21.
Following that, a decision on whether to approve the proposals should be made by the end of September.