Town centre set for a festive parking boost

The former Morpeth Library building.
The former Morpeth Library building.

Morpeth’s old library site is set to provide some festive cheer for people visiting the town in the run-up to Christmas.

Northumberland County Council’s planning team is due to determine an application to demolish the derelict building and clear the site in the week ahead – with the cleared area then being made available for temporary car parking.

Subject to planning approval, the old flat roofed former library building will be demolished, with work lined up to start from the week beginning November 6.

The mature trees on the site will be retained, with the exception of two trees, both of which are dead or dying and which will be felled for safety reasons as part of the works.

It will take several weeks to clear the buildings and leave a hard standing area that will be left open so it can be used for informal car parking.

When the work is complete, it will be made available for immediate use to support the town during the busy pre-Christmas period.

County-council leader Peter Jackson said: “The old library site forms part of the riverside development area, which is currently being considered as part of the wider Morpeth masterplanning exercise.

“This exercise will look at how best to re-develop key sites around the town to meet local needs and boost the local economy.

“While this work is progressing, we are pleased to put the site to some positive use in order to support businesses in the very important pre-Christmas period.”

Library and customer services in Morpeth moved to an area of the refurbished Royal Sovereign House in Manchester Street in July last year.

This was a temporary measure and officials at County Hall have since then been examining the potential options for such a facility.

Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for local services at the county council, said: “This now derelict building is in very poor condition, so demolishing it will both make the area safe and ready for future development for the benefit of the town, but also provide short-term support by way of some extra informal parking capacity.”

Councillor David Bawn, local ward member, added: “I think it’s a great idea to make some positive use of the site, so we aim to complete the work and make the site available by the beginning of December.”

The nearby Willows and Beechfield buildings will not be affected by this work.