An eyesore in front of a landmark Morpeth building has finally been removed.
The wooden hoardings at the front of the Grade II-listed Court House in Castle Square were put in place as a safety measure more than five years ago when pieces of stone from the building fell to the ground.
Following efforts by its owners, residents and the consortium that recently purchased the former police station set of buildings behind the Court House, work was carried out to enable them to be taken down.
The removal of the hoardings was carried out on Wednesday by a team from Mick Burns & Son Garden Maintenance and staff from Heighley Gate Garden Centre did some planting along the bed in front of the building.
One of the Court House residents, Ken Dunbar, said: “This has been a long time coming as we’ve worked through various challenges to get the building in a fit and safe state.
“We’re really pleased that the hoardings have finally been removed.”
Sheila Anderson was the first resident to move in when apartments were created inside the building in 1986. There are nine in total.
There were smiles from everyone present when she said: “I’m delighted to see the back of that fence.”
Dan Miller, of Twinscope, has been leading the project to change a section of the building from its former health club/gym use into a bar.
It received planning permission from Northumberland County Council earlier this year and refurbishment work is to be carried out to the four small rooms, part of a staircase and a corridor.
Mr Miller has also started the process to establish Morpeth Court House as a wedding venue.
He said: “We’re very excited by the proposed development behind us and it’s great that we’re working with them and the residents to improve the asset that is the Court House and its surroundings.”
The consortium is planning to create town houses, terraced properties and apartments on the former police station site. It would preserve the exterior of the main four-storey building.
One of its number, Dave Pollard, said: “We would like to thank Mick Burns & Son Garden Maintenance for removing the hoardings and Heighley Gate for doing the planting.”
A Northumberland County Council spokeswoman said: “We have been working with the parties concerned.
“Work has been done on the building that has meant the hoardings could be removed.”