Plans drawn up for stop-gap Hadrian's Wall visitor centre in Northumberland

National park draws up scheme to cater for visitors at Walltown while the new Sill landscape centre is being built

The current Walltown visitor centre
The current Walltown visitor centre

Plan have been drawn up for a stop-gap visitor centre on Hadrian’s Wall after the current facility is demolished.

Last month Northumberland National Park Authority was give the go-ahead for The Sill, an £11m visitor and landscape discovery centre.

It would replace the present Once Brewed centre on Hadrian’s Wall.

The park had submitted a bid for £7m for The Sill to the Heritage Lottery Fund and a decision is expected at the end of January.

The HLF has already given the park a £400,000 grant to develop its proposals for The Sill.

If scheme clears all its final hurdles, an alternative visitor centre will be needed until June 2017, which is the hoped-for opening date for The Sill. If the funding target is reached, it is expected that work will start on The Sill in April.

The park has chosen the existing visitor base at Walltown, five miles from Once Brewed, where a recreational site has been established in what was a whinstone quarry.

Visitors at the Walltown stretch of Hadrian's Wall
Visitors at the Walltown stretch of Hadrian's Wall
 

Plans to alter the Walltown building to provide an improved visitor centre with cafe, outside seating upgraded toilet facilities and a tourist information service go before the park authority’s development management committee on Wednesday.

The changes would include new canopy areas and alterations to the building’s open lobby area to create indoor facilities.

“When we looked at where we could base the temporary facilities, Walltown scored highest,” said Stuart Evans, project officer for The Sill.

Walltown already has a 70-space car park and is on the line of the Pennine Way and Hadrian’s Wall trail.

Planners say: “The development is a modest and sympathetic extension to an existing building that will not have an adverse impact upon sensitive viewpoints or the landscape character of the area.”

They are recommending approval.

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