Lottery bid support for office space

A local MP is putting his weight behind a bid for lottery funding to help transform unused office space into an innovative hub for small businesses.

Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT) wants to re-use empty offices at Morpeth Railway Station as space where businesses could grow and prosper in a unique enterprise centre that could accommodate as many as seven small firms.

And the trust is also looking to renovate and repair the 168-year-old station buildings.

GMDT has estimated the cost of the work at £1.5m and is currently busy putting together a funding package including making a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s enterprise programme.

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery said: “New small businesses need a unique selling point if they are to make their mark today and what better way to help them do that than by providing them with a stand-out address indicating they are uniquely located in a development sitting directly on the track side of one of Britain’s most important rail networks.

“Morpeth Railway Station is a marvellous surviving example of Britain’s Victorian railway heritage.

“Benjamin Green’s station buildings were recognised as being among the most handsome of their period, but sadly they are in urgent need of the sort of refurbishment and renovation being proposed.”

Doug Phillips, chair of GMDT, added: “Redeveloping the station as the rail gateway into Morpeth is critical to the on-going improvement of the town.

“Morpeth needs and deserves the sort of first-call rail facilities it had all those years ago when the station was first built and we believe we can do that for residents and visiting travellers like.

“Providing imaginative office space in an historic setting right alongside the main line track, would also be a wonderful boost to small firms moving into it.”