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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Facelift for Workington Hall if council can stump up the £300,000

Repair work could be carried out on Workington Hall in the coming weeks – if funding can be found.

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Upgrade? Workington Hall

Tenders are due in today for work to repair and make safe the back of the hall and the gatehouse.

The path behind the hall has been closed for several months because of the danger of falling masonry and the gatehouse problems mean the hall cannot be entered.

Both repair jobs will need to be done before any work can begin to develop the hall’s future.

But with the work expected to cost around £275,000 to £310,000, it can only be done if Allerdale council can make money available from its already stretched budget.

The council has spent nearly £65,000 on unavoidable consultancy fees to put together a photographic survey and other documentation required by English Heritage before it would give permission for work on the listed building, which is on its at-risk register.

Dave Bryden, construction services manager, said: “We are trying to get it off the at-risk register. This work is the first step. Once this work is done it will be for the council to decide what to do with it.”

The council is in talks with the Friends of Workington Hall Parklands, whose members include Workington Heritage Group, over the future of the hall and there are ambitions to bring it back into public use.

That project would cost millions of pounds and take years.

The council would like anyone who has ideas about what the hall could be used for and how money could be raised to develop those ideas to get in touch with the heritage group.

In the meantime, the tenders submitted for the initial repair works will be evaluated by the consultants.

The council will then assess whether funding is available.

If money is available for some or all of the project, work can only be carried out during brief windows because of bats living in and around the hall and the weather.

Lime mortar would be involved in the work and cannot be used when the weather drops below a certain temperature.

The hall, once home to the Curwen family, has previously housed an ice rink and hosted plays.

Ideas mooted for its future in the early 2000s included a link with the Helena Thompson Museum and the creation of a heritage hub to signpost to the town’s other historic features.

Councillor Mike Heaslip, executive member responsible for the hall, said if the repair work can be carried out, the next step would be to look towards a project for the hall’s future, which might attract grant funding.

That would include a public consultation.

He said: “We have got to do the maintenance first. There’s no point drawing up plans for the future of the hall until we can do the maintenance work.”

Have your say

the building should have been preserved many years ago its too late now!!!

Posted by albert on 29 August 2014 at 12:54

I would love to know how tourists will be attracted to Workington to see an insignificant ruin. Do people make their way to Egremont in droves to see its castle or is it just a focus for teenage drinking? If millions were to be spent to make it look historical it would be a sham and it would be cheaper to make a good looking toy castle from new. Spend a few thousand on a decent audio visual display in the museum and materials for use in local schools. Leave fairy tale wedding settings to commercial interests.

Posted by Chuck on 25 August 2014 at 21:44

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