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News on The Old Courthouse

It has been revealed that Sellafield has become involved in background work to resolve the Old Courthouse collapse issue. And detailed contracts are already being drawn up.
The information came out during heated exchanges at Cockermouth Town Council's annual public hearing on April25 2024.

Cumberland councillor Helen Tucker was among those at the annual Cockermouth Town Council public meeting. She was asked by Mr Jim Hully “When will Cocker bridge re-open?”
She replied: “There is a lot going on in the background that have legal implications so it is limited what I can say in public or even in private. That whole site as you know is owned and there are many different agencies involved. It is a Listed building. The river Cocker is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is a privately owned building so we have to get permission to go in. We have to deal with the Environment Agency, we have to deal with Historic England. Getting all those things in place..that has now happened. There are considerations on flood defences. Whatever the council puts in place for clearance of the site , not demolition of the front, but demolition at the back If anything goes into the river, for example while working from a pontoon bridge, anything going ionto the water has to be able to be cleared within eight hours. If a flood alert we have to make sure the river is clear.
It is a complex jigsaw. What has been finalised now ….the agreement for project management support from Sellafield has been finalised, the design and contractor has been procured. Project design is being finalised and discussed with the Environment agency and Natural England taking in ecology advice.
But as to date for reopening bridge she added: “Who knows. But project management is in place. There is waiting for the weather, the bridge can't reopen until the building is made safe.”
Also fielding questions was Cumberland councillor Andy Sample: “I would have it open tomorrow if it was down to me but neither Helen nor I are experts on bridge safety. It is in the hands of the officers and we have confidence in the officers.”
The Mayor, Julie Laidlow said “We invited both the Leader, councillor Fryer and the officers involved to come tonight but none bothered to attend.”
After the meeting Coun. Tucker confirmed to myself that a legal notice had been served on the owner of the building which required him to ensure steps were taken to protect and make safe the structure and if the owner fails to carry out the work then the council is obliged to do the work and then charge the owner with the cost of the work. She said : “A charge would be put on the building.”

The owner of the building Samiul Ahmed has stated that in 2023 after he acquired the property he tried to initiate work to stabilise it but was prevented by objections from the Environment Agency and others bodies.
Report by: Dave Siddall,