Council plans £650,000 investment to help Wooler area cope with anticipated influx of visitors

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Wooler is set for a range of improvements as it continues to become an increasingly popular visitor destination.

A £650,000 investment in infrastructure has been approved by Northumberland County Council’s cabinet.

It follows a report which revealed that over the past 18 months, the number of visitors attracted to the area for day trips, short breaks and holidays has steadily grown following the impact of the Covid pandemic.

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Councillors were told the appeal of staycations is likely to continue, as is the desire of more residents to explore their local countryside more often.

Public toilets at Wooler bus station are set to be revamped.Public toilets at Wooler bus station are set to be revamped.
Public toilets at Wooler bus station are set to be revamped.

And with the Ad Gefrin distillery set to swell visitor numbers further, a range of physical improvements to the town have been agreed.

Over the next six to nine months there will be refurbishment of the public toilets at the bus station, a new ‘overflow’ car parking facility close to the town centre and the creation, in partnership with Northumberland National Park and Ad Gefrin Trust, of a new country park car park next to the Ad Gefrin archaeological site.

Cllr John Riddle, cabinet member for local services, said: “We're seeing a steady rise in visitor numbers to this beautiful town and with the opening of the Ad Gefrin visitor centre later this year that number is set to increase.

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“Our concern is the current lack of facilities and infrastructure for visitors could have a detrimental impact on the ability of the visitor centre and distillery to act as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of north Northumberland.

“We have to therefore make sure we have the right infrastructure in place but manage future numbers in a way that not only protects the natural assets of this area but also respects the needs of both local residents and visitors.”

Cllr Mark Mather, member for Wooler, added: “I'm extremely happy that the cabinet has listened to calls for infrastructure improvements within the Wooler ward.

“We want every visitor to leave with a lasting impression of the town and the pride its residents and council have in it. The key to this lies within having the right infrastructure in place to cater to the needs of residents and visitors alike.”

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A further report will be presented to cabinet to request approval to start the works once detailed feasibility work has been carried out.

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