Major works to overhaul a key building in the centre of Alnwick to ensure it is used to full effect could start in January next year.
The Gazette first reported in March that a sea-change in how a number of key buildings in Alnwick will be used in the future had been drawn up.
The Northumberland Hall is set to be upgraded to create an improved community facility and to make it more attractive for a range of events, including as an affordable wedding venue. Works will include an upgraded kitchen, acoustic glass to limit outside noise and reinstating some of the original period features.
The work is part of Northumberland County Council’s major review of 89 buildings and assets in the county’s nine main towns. Across the county, the council has identified opportunities to generate more than £27million in capital income and make annual savings in its running costs of £3.4million by ensuring all its properties are fit for the 21st century and selling surplus buildings.
Coun Liz Simpson, the county council’s lead member for the accommodation review, said: “In Alnwick, we had too many old and underutilised buildings, including the historic Northumberland Hall in the heart of the town.
“We want to reduce costs, support regeneration and radically improve service access for residents. We are making good progress with the disposal of buildings which are inappropriate for modern council needs, such as The Old Post Office at Clayport Street, and will help to breathe new life into the town.
“The work at Northumberland Hall will also be a great boost for the town, bringing in new investment and attracting more people into Alnwick. Our plan is for the hall to be used for a variety of uses – as a place where local groups can meet through to somewhere where people can have their special day at a reasonable cost.”
The proposals come before county councillors next month and, if approved, the work would start in January and be complete by spring next year. The shops and toilets underneath the hall are unaffected by this work.