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Love Maryport Living!

Luke Stamper

Luke Stamper

Posted on 02 February 2023

A host of empty properties are being brought back in to use thanks to a partnership between Allerdale Borough Council, the Government’s Future High Streets fund and building owners in Maryport.

The aim of the Love Maryport Living project is to kickstart the revitalisation of unoccupied spaces above shops encouraging more people to live, spend and socialise in the town.

Research has shown that around 70% of upper floor properties in Maryport are not in residential use, either because they have been historically used as storage or office space for the businesses below, because shopkeepers no longer traditionally live on the premises, or because residential tenants have moved on and not been replaced.

Contracts have now been issued for three town centre projects which will see a total of eight flats created or renovated. Plans are also being drawn up for a further eight residential units to be made into modern homes.

All of the properties that are part of the scheme are either empty residential units, with many not having been lived in for several years, or the vacant upper floors of shops that are being converted into flats.

Work is nearing completion on the first-floor flat above the former Tidal Reach Gallery. The owner, Maryport resident Scott Lyon, is transforming it into a modern one-bedroom apartment for private rental. He said: “The rooms hadn’t been touched since the 1980s so there was a lot of work to be done. 

“Things were very dated. We’ve soundproofed, fireproofed, and insulated it, installed new heating, done a full rewire, repaired the damaged joists, fitted new double-glazed West Port wooden windows and are putting in a high-end kitchen and a bathroom. It should be ready in a few weeks’ time.” 

Work is also about to get underway on two flats in Senhouse Street where the ground floor shopfronts have just been restored, and the historic landmark building which houses the Betfred bookmakers on the corner of Senhouse Street and Crosby Street will see the creation of five apartments.

The Maryport Residential Conversion Scheme is being funded by the Future High Streets fund and Allerdale Borough Council and will bring the 16 accommodation spaces back in to use, with grants totalling around £960,000. Eligible property owners receive funding of up to £60,000 per residential unit created but must pay at least 20% of the renovation costs themselves. The refurbished buildings can be used as residential properties or as holiday accommodation under the terms of the funding contracts.

Councillor Mike Johnson, Leader of Allerdale Borough Council, said: “Making sure our town centres thrive and remain vibrant is a big priority. 

“So many empty flats and upper floors of retail businesses currently lie dormant or are used as storage. This scheme will provide owners with funding to restore them, allowing more people to live or stay in the heart of Maryport and bring new life to the town, particularly in the evenings.”

All the residential conversion scheme funding has now been allocated. The next properties which will become available will be announced later this year.