Bid to demolish Storey Park lodged
A closed community centre in Morpeth is a step closer to being knocked down.
An application to demolish Storey Park has been submitted by Morpeth Town Council and if it gets the green light, the site will be restored as an area of hardstanding.
Earlier this year, the centre was designated an Asset of Community Value (ACV).
This means that the town council, in order to win permission to knock the building down, will need to convince county planners and potentially a committee of county councillors that there is enough provision for activities and groups elsewhere in the town.
Members of the town council have previously said at council meetings that estimates are as high as £800,000 for refurbishment works and £1.2million for a rebuild due to the deteriorating state of the building, with some parts of it described as ‘condemned’.
This also affected the number of groups using it before it closed.
A Save Storey Park petition set up in 2019 was signed by more than 1,000 people.
And a planning statement by George F White on behalf of the town council refers to a request by the Storey Park Community Group that the county council consider the building as an ACV. It was subsequently listed as an ACV in March 2021.
As part of making its case, it sets out why the town council believes there is ‘alternative equivalent provision to meet community needs’.
As well as a list of various venues in the area, it points out the completed St James Community Centre refurbishment to provide improved facilities for groups and events at that building.
The report also states: “The applicant wishes to emphasise that whilst the proposals seek to demolish the building, there are no intentions to provide alternative development on site and the land will be retained by the town council.
“The current proposals are simply as a result of the need to make best use of public funds recognising the significant investment needed to upgrade and maintain the facility and the availability of alternative equivalent provision.
“Following demolition, it is proposed that the area currently occupied by the building will comprise an area of hardstanding.”