National park bosses are set to invest £150,000 in improving visitor facilities in a remote valley.
Northumberland National Park Authority is on Wednesday being advised to allocate the money to the refurbishment of ageing facilities at picturesque Bulby’s Wood near Ingram in the Breamish Valley.
The plans have been welcomed by a local councillor who said there is no point attracting visitors to the valley if it is lacking in suitable facilities.
The site offers a toilet block, constructed in the 1960s, a car park, bins and information boards.
A report to the meeting states: “The site is well used by visitors to the valley especially on bank holidays and through the summer school holidays however the toilet facilities are dated and not up to the standard expected by visitors in this day and age.
“The lack of electricity and shading from trees adds to the unattractive nature of the toilet block making it dark and unappealing.”
Newcastle City Council has now been appointed as design and procurement consultants to develop a proposal for refurbishment of Bulby’s Wood.
That authority has completed designs for the building which includes male and female toilets, a disabled toilet, a cleaner’s cupboard and an area for information provision.
A preferred contractor has been selected.
The partners are hoping to submit a planning application in November and hope that would be considered in February.
Should it be approved, the authority hopes to begin work in March with the facilities to reopen in June in time for the school holidays.
The national park is now being advised to agree to the use of a £150,000 reserve previously earmarked for the scheme.
A report to the meeting says: “The importance of providing amenities and information for visitors to the Breamish Valley has long been acknowledged.
“Alongside Hadrian’s Wall it is a popular destination for visitors to the national park participating in traditional recreational pursuits such as walking and family picnics.”
Stephen Shell, chairman of Ingram Parish Council, said: “There has been a lot of talk the last two or three years about upgrading the toilet block.
“They have been in there a lot of years, they need revamped. The water supply is not good either. It could be sorted out with a bit of time and money.
“We are not expecting fantastic facilities, just facilities that work, facilities for people that come in the valley.
“Like everything else they promote the valley for people to come and use it but if they do not have a decent toilet block and facilities for people. They should not promote it and not provide the facilities to go with it.”
The national park’s visitor centre at Ingram closed in 2012, with tourist information provided at the site by owners of the Muddy Boots cafe and gift shop since autumn last year.