Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cooperage Owners Hit Back over 'Left to Rot' Accusations

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cooperage Owners Hit Back over 'Left to Rot' Accusations

Article excerpt

Byline: COREENA FORD Business writer coreena.ford@reachplc.com @Scoopford

THE owners of Newcastle pub The Cooperage have vowed to reopen the historic Quayside building in an "ambitious and exciting scheme", 10 years after it closed its doors.

The 15th-century Cooperage has the most complete medieval timberframe building in Newcastle and was a regular haunt for Quayside drinkers in the 80s and 90s, but shut its doors to the public in 2009.

Historic England last year placed the prominent pub - the subject of a petition to save the building - on its list of at-risk historic buildings, citing concerns over broken drainpipes and a lack of upkeep.

Last week, a fresh campaign to save the Grade II listed property was set in motion by the Save the Cooperage group, which accrued more than 18,000 signatures and brought in several hundred pounds from the community in a restoration fund.

Now, however, the building's owner, Apartment Group, which bought the building in 2010, has hit back at claims the building has been "left to rot", detailing how it has invested in keeping the building structurally sound.

The firm's new chief operations officer, Debrah Dhugga, also revealed the group, owners of As You Like It, House of Smith and Florita's, is working on plans to develop the site so it can "once again welcome residents and visitors".

Mrs Dhugga said: "The Cooperage is without a doubt one of the most charming and architecturally significant buildings in the city - and we welcome this opportunity to update you on its condition.

"The Apartment Group has considerable experience in working with listed buildings, and has spent more than PS10m taking abandoned, neglected buildings and sensitively restoring them into award winning ventures, saving buildings and creating considerable employment. "However, The Cooperage project is taking longer than most projects due to its historical significance and challenging location.

"When we acquired The Cooperage site, it was in a state of considerable disrepair, with holes in the roof, burst water pipes, broken windows and derelict guttering just the start of the problem. …

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