A LEGAL notice has been issued to the owner of Cockermouth's Old Courthouse, giving him a deadline to carry out works needed on the building.

Cumberland Council has taken steps to progress works needed on the Old Courthouse building in Cockermouth.

They have issued a Section 54 Notice, part of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

This enables a local authority to carry out urgent works for the preservation of listed buildings in their area after giving notice to the owner.

The Notice was issued to the owner of the property who has until Wednesday 24 January 2024 to take meaningful steps to undertake the work. If no steps are taken, the council has the authority to carry out the works.

The Old Courthouse is a Grade II listed building, and the council is in ongoing discussions with partners including Historic England.

The Notice was issued yesterday Wednesday, November 17 and lists the minimum works needed on the building, as endorsed by Historic England.

These include temporary stabilisation works to be installed to first and second floor, then careful demolition of the first and second floors to the rear wing and installation of weatherproofing to the remaining masonry walls.

Agencies - including Cumberland Council, Historic England, Natural England and the Environment Agency - continue to work together with the aim of protecting public safety.

Extensive investigations of the building have been undertaken by the council with support of agencies.

The building, which partially collapsed last year, continues to be standing however any proposed works are impacted by:

• The site is land locked, access to allow any works to be undertaken is challenging.

• The building is Grade II listed and any further works is required to be minimal to protect the fabric of the historic building.

• The River Cocker, adjacent to the site, is part of the River Derwent and Tributaries Site of Special Scientific Interest.

• The impact on waste flows and the protection of flood defences needs careful consideration.

• Any works need to minimise pollution from any debris.

• Requirements for archaeological investigation and subsequent detailed archaeological excavation if deemed necessary.

The Cocker Bridge in Cockermouth reopened to traffic in mid-December last year.

The bridge was closed to vehicles following the partial collapse of the adjacent Old Courthouse building.

A five-metre-high scaffold screening has been erected on the side of the bridge.

Traffic is being controlled by traffic lights on either side of the bridge. They are manually controlled during term time (Monday to Friday) between 8am - 10am and 2pm - 4pm each day. Pedestrian access across the bridge has also been maintained.

The work was commissioned by Cumberland Council and was undertaken by their specialist highways engineers.