It’s been an exciting month as work finally started to get 35 Northgate back into use. After years of neglect, this architecturally impressive building is in a very poor condition but thanks to the Townscape Heritage Project, is finally getting some much needed TLC.
The building was acquired by the Council a couple of years ago when it was under threat of being lost as a pub forever. Since then, its condition has prevented it being let but now funds are available through the Townscape Heritage Project a full renovation scheme will see the building brought back to its former glory.
Externally, stonemasonry specialists Stone Central have surveyed the property and will advise us on how best to repair the stonework and prevent further decay.
After an expensive but essential operation to professionally remove asbestos from the building, young apprentices Sam Otley and Westley Fenton helped the Council’s building team clear out the building, strip back modern fixtures, fittings and old carpets, remove rotten wood and false walls. Under the close eye of our Conservation Officer and Property Surveyor, this was done so that we could get a much better look at the original building structure and establish the works needed.
Unfortunately, the property is in a much worse condition that we were hoping. Water has been coming in through the roof and chimneys for many years causing significant damage throughout the building. This is not uncommon in Blackburn and many buildings that are still in commercial use on the ground floor often have upper floors that are completely uninhabitable as a result of poor or non-existent maintenance of the roof, windows and gutters.
Internally, very few original features have been retained, but there are glimmers of what once was.
Re-opening spaces that where closed off to created unsympathetic corridors and toilet blocks has made it easier to imagine what could be and see the buildings true potential.
Key features, such as the central tower present exciting opportunities for the internal design and the impressive views from upper floor windows are definitely an asset.
Our next job will be to work with an Architect to develop a renovation scheme that will not only restore the building’s heritage, but secure its long term future by creating a building that is commercially viable for modern day use.
There is a lot of work to do and it will be some time before the building is ready but commercial interest is already strong and we are confident we’ll attract a use to complement our ambitious regeneration plans for the area.