Maltings chief welcomes council’s development plan for venue

The Maltings could soon be developed into a wedding and cultural venue. Picture: Kimberley Powell
The Maltings could soon be developed into a wedding and cultural venue. Picture: Kimberley Powell

The Maltings Trust has 
welcomed plans to develop the building by incorporating a new wedding venue and a new cultural venue.

Northumberland County Council announced last week that it is in discussions with partners in Berwick, including the Maltings Trust.

Maltings chief executive Matthew Rooke is backing the plans

Maltings chief executive Matthew Rooke is backing the plans

During the next two years the Maltings and Cowes buildings could be redesigned and refurbished to create the council’s customer-facing access for Berwick’s residents.

The council is looking to incorporate a new wedding venue and a new cultural venue to attract visitors and tell the story of the town, including the Berwick Burrell Collection, access to the border archives and the links to LS Lowry.

Part of the plans include remodelling of the Maltings venue. It is all part of what the county council says is “a blueprint for access to modern, efficient and joint-up services across all towns in Northumberland.”

Malttings chief executive and artistic director, Matthew Rooke said: “We are extremely pleased to be going from strength to strength here at the Maltings – with 60,000 paying customers last year, the largest number in our history.

“We have always been the focal point for many community activities for residents of Berwick and surrounding areas, so it makes sense that further services can be provided from here.

“While the details are still to be worked through, and further feasibility work done, the proposed developments being considered seem a natural extension of our work here.

“Weddings for example are superb for the local economy as a whole as they not only benefit the venue which is used, but all of the ancillary services required such as florists all help to sustain local businesses. I look forward to helping to develop these plans.”

Maurice Ward, chair of the Maltings Trust, added: “We are very grateful for the ongoing support from Northumberland County Council, which has already allowed us to make significant improvements and expansion to what we offer here in Berwick.

“We are very pleased about the future potential investment in the facility and look forward to continued partnership working in the future so that we can build on the opportunities that these proposals present.”

Lead executive director of Northumberland County Council, Steven Mason, said: “We are keen to link our accommodation proposals to wider regeneration in Berwick, and through these plans wish to create an exciting cultural hub designed to attract more visitors to the town.”

The council’s proposals for Berwick will involve a number of staged moves. The council building in Walkergate would be remodelled to incorporate visitor information, customer information, local history studies and classrooms which can be used for adult learning and for further education by Northumberland College. Palace Street East will be vacated and the sold for restoration.

When customer-facing services move to the new, remodelled, Maltings, the Walkergate building would be retained as a learning centre for adults and for further education. The council also intends to move out of Wallace Green when other office space becomes available so that these buildings can be redeveloped for alternative uses.