Major issues to address at popular building

A well-used community building in Morpeth is in need of an extensive renovation, it has been revealed.

There have been discussions between Morpeth Town Council and Northumberland County Council for some time about the possibility of the former taking over the freehold and full management of Storey Park Community Centre and its nearby playing field from the county authority.

The facility has been managed by the town council since 1998 and it has spent a significant amount of money in refurbishing the interior. As part of the potential transfer, councillors commissioned a condition survey to identify work that might be needed if it was to be considered ‘fully fit for purpose’ and this has now been completed.

Major areas of concern include the deterioration of roof coverings and high levels of damp in various parts of the building, which was built in the 1950s. Much of the report recommends more intensive investigation.

An action plan will be drawn up between the two authorities, although councillors have stressed that there are no risks to users.

Andrew Tebbutt, chairman of the town council’s property and asset management committee, said: ”It didn’t come as a great surprise that the report has highlighted areas we already thought might need attention, although the extent of the work was perhaps greater than anticipated.

“First and foremost, there is no suggestion the building is unsafe or a danger to use.

“It will continue to offer facilities and be fully open whilst we discuss with the county council the implications of the report – an action plan to remedy the identified issues – alongside any negotiations on transferring the freehold.”