YORK museum bosses have failed in a bid for millions of pounds of heritage lottery cash to transform the Castle Museum.

The York Museums Trust has ambitious plans to give the museum the kind of multi-million pound makeover that both the Yorkshire Museum and York Art Gallery have had in the last decade.

The plans include a new extension to the Women’s Prison wing to create a new main entrance to the museum; demolishing the 1970s connection between the museum’s two wings to allow access to the castle walls behind; and doing a better job of interpreting the amazing history of the Eye of Yorkshire and the castle site.

The Museums Trust had hoped that hoped that a successful bid - thought to have been for several million pounds - to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Heritage Horizon Awards would have unlocked other funding to enable to project to go forward.

But it was told that it was not one of the 18 organisations which had been successful for a share of the £50 million heritage funding pot.

Museums Trust chair James Grierson stressed that the failure of the bid did not mean the end of the line for the Castle Museum plans.

“We are disappointed,” he admitted. “But we always knew that there was a lot of competition for a small pot of (Heritage Lottery) money.”

The failure of the bid may mean some delays to the project, which was always going to be done in several phases spread over a number of years, he said. Or it may mean changing the order in which work was done.

But there were other sources of funding that the Museums Trust could tap into. “There is no sense in which this changes in any way our commitment to the project.

“The last two years of research, consultation and planning have helped us build strong relationships with partners and communities across the city which has created real momentum and public support for our vision to transform the Castle area.

“We believe York Museums Trust is in a fantastic position to take the vision forward and deliver what will be a welcoming, unique attraction.”