COUNCILLORS have approved a housing plan which will safeguard the future of a Victorian water pumping station.

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.

Aquarium Developments has won 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 will 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.

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.

The site's long-term future will be secured by a Section 106 legal agreement, stipulating the pumping equipment and tower will have to be surveyed and repaired, if necessary.

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