A FORMER carriageworks with connections to the Stockton and Darlington Railway is set to receive a £150,000 makeover.
The Hopetown Carriageworks, in Darlington’s North Road, has become run down in recent years and is a target for vandals, despite its Grade II–listed status and links to the town’s rail heritage.
Members of Darlington Borough Council, which owns the building, will be asked to release £150,000 of capital funding for external repairs to the rendering and stonework next week.
The cash-strapped council is facing cuts of nearly £14m to its revenue budget in the coming years, but a report prepared for cabinet states that the funding for repairs was earmarked in its capital budget in 2012/13 and can now be released.
The former carriageworks, now known as the Darlington Locomotive Works, is leased to the A1 Steam Trust, the team behind the locomotive Tornado, and Prince of Wales, the £5m engine that will be built at the site over the next five years, and the North East Locomotive Preservation Group.
Mark Allatt, from the A1 Steam Trust, welcomed the news that the council is looking to renovate the building and said: “We moved into the building in 1997 and work was done then that was supposed to be the first of three phases of repairs but unfortunately the funding for the work was never forthcoming.
“It’s a really wonderful building - it enabled us to erect Tornado in Darlington. We always had it open for people to come and look round but it looked a bit shabby.
“Since we finished Tornado we have refurbished the building internally ahead of starting work on Prince of Wales and opened up some of the parts of the building that have been closed off for years.
“It’s wonderful that the council is going to do something to the outside – when we’ve got something so marvellous going on inside it’s a shame that the outside doesn’t reflect that.”
The report for councillors said: “There has been no specific consultation on the external remedial work being proposed but over the years the public and heritage conservation groups have raised concerns as to the external appearance and apparent neglect for the building.”
The cabinet will meet at Darlington town hall at 5pm on Tuesday, March 4.