A FAMOUS gallery is battling to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic and major roadworks which have closed off access.

The Joe Cornish Galley in Northallerton opened in 2004 in Zetland Street, Northallerton taking over one of the town's oldest buildings the former North Riding Registry of deeds which was built in 1736.

The gallery co-owned by award winning landscape photographer Joe Cornish houses a permanent exhibition of his works alongside his archive of prints. They also showcase the work of many artists and photographers from across Britain and Europe.

The coronavirus forced the lockdown of the gallery, they say they are endeavouring to reopen now restrictions have been relaxed but massive redevelopment work on Zetland Street is hampering them.

The street is being transformed as part of the Treadmills Development with pavements widened and the carriageway narrowed to single vehicle width. It also paves the way for spaces for loading, taxi and parking bays.

The footpaths will be paved in York stone and trees will be planted on the northern side of the footpath. The £4.5m scheme is part of town centre improvements being carried out by Hambleton District and North Yorkshire County council's.

Gallery Manager Adam Richardson said: "The redevelopment work will transform the space and access on Zetland Street as it links the High Street with the new Treadmills development.

"We are looking forward to seeing the introduction of wider pavements and the planting of trees outside the gallery.

"Unfortunately the work started just a few weeks before lockdown began and this has delayed progress. As a result access to Zetland Street and specifically the area around the gallery building itself has been severely disrupted for customers and staff and we don't feel confident reopening the building to the public until the development work has progressed further."

Work started in February and was due to take around three months, but it was stopped for around a month until contractors could develop new ways of working for employees to ensure coronavirus restrictions were complied with.

The Gallery says appointments can still be made for visitors who want to go into the gallery.