Cross-border approach boosts Berwick’s Barracks work
17 May 2022
A true cross-border approach is being taken as Berwick’s cultural offer continues to grow.
Last year a new £17.5m arts venue for the town was confirmed after the signing of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, with up to £15m of UK Government contribution.
The new Maltings venue on Eastern Lane in the town will be an ‘iconic, multi-purpose cultural and entertainment complex’ when its doors open in 2025.
During the two-year build, The Maltings will use available buildings within Berwick Barracks to continue delivering its programme.
The scheme is being project managed by Advance Northumberland, and in the true spirit of Borderlands working a design team has now been appointed for the Barracks work, with the lead architects Outland Architects (located in Berwick), and the quantity surveyors and principal designer– Thomson Grey (based in Edinburgh).
The temporary facilities, including The Gymnasium Gallery and The Mob Store, will add to the current cultural offer at the Barracks and also enable other arts organisations associated with The Maltings, such as the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, to continue to engage and attract audiences and visitors in the town.
At the Barracks, the “Mob Store” will be transformed temporarily into a single screen cinema with 100+ seats – meaning a new cinema for the town offering screenings throughout the year.
Following practical completion of The Maltings it will then become the permanent home of Berwick Archives, accredited by The National Archives.
The Gymnasium Gallery, which is currently only used by The Maltings six months a year due to insufficient heating and cooling, will be refurbished to allow year-round activities and events to take place.
Both the cinema and the gallery are scheduled to open in Spring 2023.
Councillor Jeff Watson, Cabinet Member responsible for culture at Northumberland County Council, said: “This project will significantly improve and expand the facilities and offer, making Berwick a centre for culture and the arts and delivering a significant boost to the local economy.
“We’re very pleased to see a cross border approach to taking the Barracks scheme forward and are looking forward to seeing progress over the coming months.
Berwick North County Councillor Catherine Seymour added: “I am very much looking forward to these dynamic plans for our Maltings art/culture venue, the Barracks cultural offer and a new home for our Archives with 500 year’s worth of rich material to come to fruition.
“It has taken some time in the development for the vision of these projects during the planning stage and securing funds that are gratefully received and will benefit the economy and community."
Minister for Levelling Up Neil O’Brien said: “This new venue will further boost Berwick’s position as a cultural hub for local arts and media organisations in the Borderlands.
“Community groups and local creative businesses will benefit from the new space, with the local economy boosted by the increased number of visitors to this impressive entertainment complex.
“The Borderlands Deal is delivering for the people of Berwick and the Borderlands as we work to level every corner of the UK.”