An ambitious funding bid to remodel Morpeth Railway Station has won the backing of Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery.
(left to right John Curtis (Napper Architects remodel designers) Doug Phillips (Chair of GMDT), Councillor Ian Lindley and David Lodge (Chief Executive GMDT))
As previously reported, the Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT) is planning a £1.5million scheme to transform unused office space at the Grade II listed station into state-of-the-art business units.
If the trust’s plans come to fruition they would prove a wonderful asset to the town.Ian Lavery, Wansbeck MP.
The unique enterprise hub would accommodate six or seven small businesses, and the project would also reinstate a portico entrance, create a new cafe and ticket collection area, and improve toilets.
The Herald revealed last month that a planning application had been submitted to Northumberland County Council for the work.
And now the trust is making a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s enterprise programme for financial support.
Mr Lavery has written a supporting letter for the application, describing the plans as “innovative and imaginative”.
He said: “New small businesses need a unique selling point if they are to make their mark today and what better way to help them do that than by providing them with a stand-out address indicating they are uniquely located in a development sitting directly on the trackside of one of Britain’s most important rail networks?
“Morpeth Railway Station is a marvellous surviving example of Britain’s Victorian railway heritage. Benjamin Green’s station buildings were recognised as being among the most handsome of their period, but sadly they have seen better days and are in urgent need of the sort of refurbishment and renovation being proposed by the trust.
“Equally as important as raising the station’s profile as a welcoming arrival point into the town, however, are GMDT’s proposals to make thoughtful use of what is largely redundant space. Morpeth needs new small office space and the conversion plans would admirably fit that bill.”
He added: “If the trust’s plans come to fruition they would prove a wonderful asset to the town and I am delighted to give them my whole-hearted endorsement.”