INSURERS have given a contractor the 'green light' to begin the demolition of Haltwhistle Working Men's Club.

This update comes 17 months after a fire broke out at the site on December 1, 2022.

In the months after the fire, Northumberland County Council issued a 'Dangerous Structures Notice' on the building, with structural engineers being required to make the structure safe, support and protect the front section of the building, and undertake repairs to the rear wall that provides security and privacy to residents in the immediate vicinity. 

Since then, engineers have produced a demolition schedule, which was then costed and sent to the insurers of the club for approval.

With approval now given, demolition works are expected to take place in the coming weeks.

Haltwhistle Working Men's Club is meeting this week to discuss the next steps. 

Local MP Guy Opperman said: "The fire at the Working Men's Club devastated the community in Haltwhistle.

"People in the town cherished the venue for 100 years as a place where local people could get together. 

"I have met nearby residents, businesses and stakeholders multiple times to discuss the next steps for the club. People are understandably upset and frustrated that the site remains derelict, unsafe, and unsightly, and I have been urging the insurers to act quickly, for the good of the town. 

"People are rightly proud to live in Haltwhistle but this mess is having a damaging impact on tourism and morale in the town.

"I am pleased that progress is now being made and I expect work to take place as soon as possible."

County councillor for Haltwhistle, Ian Hutchinson said: "This is fantastic news. The whole community will be over the moon and I personally look forward to seeing the eyesore tidied up. 

"It has been a blot in the town now for nearly 18 months and many complaints have been received from visitors and locals.

"Hopefully, Haltwhistle can return to the picturesque little market town it once was that people can be proud to live in and welcome tourists once again."