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Thursday, 28 August 2014

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Boost to campaign to revive Wigton

A campaign to breathe new life into Wigton town centre has been given a boost by news that an empty derelict building could be renovated.

Planning permission has been applied for to turn the former King’s Arms pub into a business hub.

The building’s most recent use was as a hotel and nightclub but the application sets out plans to create employment opportunities as well as residential dwellings.

The possible renovation has been backed by Len Baseley, treasurer of Wigton Partnership.

He said: “We are all highly delighted because at last something is beginning to happen. I feel I can speak for everyone in the town when I say that we are very pleased something is happening.

“It’s currently a dreadful eyesore as is the factory shop next door.

“If they get permission the next step is making it happen.”

The proposal would involve the construction of a cafe at the front of the building and four shop units on the bottom floor. On the upper floor, the aim is to build nine flats.

A design statement submitted to Allerdale Council on behalf of Edwin Thompson chartered surveyors says: “The King’s Arms is currently disused, with plywood boards fixed to all the ground floor windows.

“These boards... are covered in graffiti, greatly detracting from the architectural design. The paintwork to this elevation is giving the building a tired appearance.

“Our client is keen to breathe new life into this derelict and dilapidated listed building, creating new employment opportunities and housing for people in the centre of town.”

As the building has fallen into a state of disrepair there will be a considerable amount of renovation work to carry out, including replacing windows, removing areas of dry rot and stripping back decayed timber.

A chimney stack on the south west side of the building will also be removed and replaced with slate.

The prospective development comes shortly after the Wigton Partnership submitted its final bid to become a ‘Portas pilot’ town. If successful, the town would be given £100,000 to rejuvenate the high street.

Mr Baseley believes it has a good chance of being one of the 12 town chosen.

“Businesses are all talking about the bid and people now know about it,” he added.

The bid has received the backing of Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart and Lord Bragg, who is originally from Wigton.

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