COUNCILLORS are being recommended to approve housing plan at a Victorian water pumping station that will safeguard its future.

Dalton Pumping Station, near Murton and the Dalton Park shopping complex, is a Grade II Listed Building that has stood empty since it was sold by the Sunderland and South Shields Water Company 20 years ago.

Built in 1873 by Thomas Hawksley in Venetian Gothic Revival style, the buildings are considered important to the region’s industrial architectural heritage.

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Aquarium Developments is seeking planning permission and listed building consent to create six residential units by converting the coal store, boiler room and two other stores.

Two houses and four apartments would also be built on the site.

The developer plans to create a charitable trust to look after the pump house itself, which still contains machinery, for future generations.

A report to Durham County Council’s central and east area planning committee, which will consider the application on Tuesday, September 9, states there have been no objections to the plan and Murton Parish Council and the Victorian Society have signalled their support for the scheme

The developer said that previous plans for a restaurant pub did not materialise and the building has stood empty since, leaving it at risk from vandalism and burglary.

This scheme would bring it back into use and help safeguard it.

Planning officer Barry Gavilet said the adverse impact of the schemes new-build element would be offset by a Section 106 legal agreement securing the site’s long-term future.

The pumping equipment and tower would have to be surveyed and repaired, if necessary.

The trust would maintain the building and open it to the public as a visitor and educational attraction.

The developer would have to make a financial contribution to the trust and pay £6,000 towards play provision in the Murton area.