A FRESH bid for lottery funds to help turn Clitheroe Castle into a major tourist attraction is to be launched by council chiefs.

And that could lead to a high-class restaurant being built in the grounds of the castle in a bid to increase visitors to the Norman-dated building.

Ribble Valley councillors have approved pushing ahead with a new lottery bid, five years after a plea for £1million was rejected.

Outline proposals, for £2million, have now been submitted to the Heiritage Lottery Board, which has requested information on how the improvements would lead to more visitors.

One idea is for a restaurant to built on a terrace below the castle facing Pendle Hill.

John Heap, director of commercial services, said: "It is just an idea at the moment but it does have its attractions.

"From the terrace, you have one of the best views of Pendle Hill going. It something we are looking out but want to get reaction from the public about first. It would mean the castle grounds being used by more people for longer parts of the day."

Improvements to the greenhouses, the castle's museum and repairs to the keep would also be included, along with improved security.

In the meantime, £250,000 made available through other government sources will be used to repair buildings.

Leisure and tourism manager Chris Hughes said: "There is no guarantee of success."

Coun Mary Robinson, a Clitheroe councillor, said: "There is an awful lot of work which needs doing there but it has the ability to be a wonderful tourist attraction for the town."

Whalley councillor Chris Strerry said: "We should be successful because the Ribble Valley has really been overlooked by the lottery."