Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Funding for Repairs to Preserve Staithes; Coal-Mining Monument Gets a Boost

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Funding for Repairs to Preserve Staithes; Coal-Mining Monument Gets a Boost

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson Environment Editor? 0191 201 6224 ? tony.henderson@ncjmedia.co.uk

THE drive to secure the future of one of the North East's greatest industrial monuments slipped into gear yesterday with a double funding boost.

Dunston Staithes, in Gateshead, opened in 1893 and closed almost a century later, is listed and a scheduled monument.

The 520m (1,709ft)-long staithes, believed to be the largest wooden structure in Northern Europe, played a crucial role in the transport from the Tyne of millions of tons of North East coal.

But it has been steadily deteriorating after suffering two major fires and is on English Heritage's At Risk register.

Now the target of bringing the monument back into public use is nearer following crucial support from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

English Heritage has offered Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust, which owns Dunston Staithes, a grant of PS176,819 to carry out investigative works and repairs to the first six bays of the structure.

This would test out techniques that can be used in the rest of the monument.

Work is likely to start early next year.

The trust has also been awarded initial support from the HLF of a development grant of PS48,200.

It will allow the trust to develop project plans which aim to bring the first 38 bays into public use and link them to the Keelmans Way cycle route and also one of the few remaining areas of saltmarsh in the Tyne area. Of significant conservation interest, the mudflats, which were naturally created when the staithes closed and dredging ceased, provide a roosting area for bird species, including grey heron, lapwing and redshank.

Secretary of Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust, Martin Hulse, said: "Dunston Staithes is an incredible feat of engineering and this news is a really big step forward. …

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