A million pound plan to develop the former Visitor office into a hub for the blind community has been given a £125,000 cash boost.
New owners Galloway’s Society for the Blind have been given the money by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Lancaster City Council.
The grant will allow Galloway’s to improve the 85-year-old Victoria Street building’s frontage and restore some of its key architectural features - including the mosaic outside the front door.
Meanwhile an artist’s impressions have revealed how some of the interior of the new blind centre might look.
Work began on site last week. Most of the old building will be demolished and a new smaller two-storey extension built. The existing reception area and upstairs offices will remain but will be refurbished for Galloway’s new centre which is due to open in 2016.
Stuart Clayton, chief executive of Galloway’s, said: “Our current building on Balmoral Road is no longer fit for purpose which is why we have been planning a move to the town centre for a number of years. We know the building is very tired and requires significant refurbishment, however it is in an ideal location and our plan to invest around £1m demonstrates that we are serious about supporting the visually impaired community in North Lancashire.”
Coun Janice Hanson, deputy leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “This investment provides Galloway’s with the funds to make the improvements needed so the building makes a positive contribution to one of Morecambe’s main streets.”
The Visitor moved out of the Victoria Street premises in February 2014 and is now based at a new office on the White Lund Industrial Estate.
The money has come through the Morecambe Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI)2 - A View for Eric scheme. This five year Heritage Lottery programme aims to improve Victorian and art deco buildings in the heart of Morecambe. The eastern end of Victoria Street, as well as parts of Euston Road and Market Street, are also set to be revamped in a £600,000 investment by the council, with work due to start early next year.