CUMBERLAND council has said that 'discussions are ongoing' with the owner of the Old Courthouse in Cockermouth, as it seeks 'additional specialist legal advice' on the issue almost five months after the building first partially collapsed.

The back of the Old Courthouse in Cockermouth, a Grade-II listed property, fell into the River Cocker in the early hours of October 8.

In January, Cumberland Council 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.

In an update yesterday, March 5, Cumberland Council has said it is seeking additional specialist legal advice 'imminently' and continues to be involved in discussions with the owner.

A Cumberland Council spokesperson said: "Discussions are ongoing with the owner of the property and we are making every effort to get an agreement on the scope of works and get things moving.

"Legal notices have been served and if no meaningful steps are taken by the owner of the property, we will take on the work and the necessary procurement process.

"Additional specialist legal advice is imminent. Due to the complexity of the site, various permits and approvals are needed before any works can be undertaken.

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