An ambitious project to breathe new life into one of Northumberland’s most historic buildings has reached an important stage.
A planning application has been lodged this week by Cresswell Parish Council to carry out works in order to re-open the ruined 15th century pele tower in the village.
They include consolidating and repairing the historic floors, stairs and walls and partly reinstating the timber second floor and first floor dais.
The site boundary walls and landscape would be repaired and the Bothy adapted for volunteers welfare if the bid gets the green light.
In addition, there would be works to ‘replace the historic roof with a metal lower-pitch interpretation to minimise impact and install double glazed skylights and single glazed windows’.
Last year, the parish council, with support from Greater Morpeth Development Trust, secured a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £93,000 for the development phase of the project.
Further funding is required for the reconstruction and fitting needed to bring the building back into full use as a tourist attraction and a new community facility.
The design, access and heritage statement by Curtis Architecture on behalf of the council, states: ‘This application has been over three years in development and has been prepared in the best interests of the Tower, Bothy and site – with the proposals considered as best conservation practice in managing change.
‘The 15th century Grade II* listed Scheduled Ancient Monument has been adapted over time, including the addition of 18th century crenulations and adjoining house (the latter demolished in the mid-19th century), but has been neglected and closed to the public for a considerable time.
‘The current owners, Parkdean Resorts Limited (Cresswell Towers Holiday Park), consider the Tower a liability and the initiative taken by Cresswell Parish Council to take over responsibility for the building with a view to conserving and re-opening to the public is to be applauded.
‘The building will be operated on a voluntary basis through a Friends Group, who have worked tirelessly in supporting the project under the direction of the archaeologists.
‘The interpretive proposals will promote interest both locally and nationally, generating new life to this wonderful historic building.’