A group of dedicated volunteers who maintain and operate an historic Victorian water pumping station have secured their long-term future at the site with the help of local Solicitors, Latimer Hinks.
The volunteers have agreed a 50 year lease on the Tees Cottage Pumping Station museum in Darlington with owners Northumbrian Water.
For almost 40 years the volunteers have operated the site on a verbal tenancy at will basis which fails to offer the same levels of security as a written tenancy.
The volunteers decided to use Darlington law firm Latimer Hinks to represent them during the process. Rosanne Tweddle, a Senior Solicitor at Latimer Hinks – a major supporter of the ‘I’m Backing Darlington’ campaign – advised the volunteers on the terms of the lease and completed the agreement in conjunction with Northumbrian Water.
Rosanne said: “It is a privilege to be able to help to secure the future for another great Darlington institution allowing it to continue to be a valued part of the town for generations to come.
The tenancy agreement was previously based on a verbal agreement and formalising that now offers both parties much greater security and helps to avoid any misunderstandings in the future.”
Phillip Doran, Chairman of Tees Cottage Pumping Station, said: “We are extremely grateful for Rosanne’s expertise in helping to secure our long-term future. This lease provides us with a solid basis from which we can continue running, maintaining and preserving this much-loved example of North East industrial heritage for future generations.
“We also wish to thank Northumbrian Water for offering to formalise the tenancy agreement.”
The scheduled ancient monument was built in 1849 and used steam power to pump water from the River Tees to Darlington households – whose residents had previously been forced to rely on rainwater tubs, wells and hand pumps.
It is one of the few pumping stations left with its original pumping engines in full working order. The two cylinder gas engine is the largest preserved engine in Europe while the magnificent steam beam engine is still supplied by its original Lancashire boiler.
Louise Baker, Northumbrian Water Estates Surveyor, said: “Tees Cottage Pumping Station is a fantastic example of heritage right here in our region.
“We’re immensely proud of this historic monument and of the partnership we have with the volunteers of Tees Cottage Pumping Station who work exceptionally hard helping us to preserve it.”
The ‘I’m Backing Darlington’ campaign was launched to unite the town’s businesses and develop initiatives to counteract the effects of high street closures.
Rosanne said: “Tees Cottage Pumping Station is a piece of living history which played an important role in the town’s development. These dedicated volunteers and Northumbrian Water should be congratulated on their efforts to preserve this much-loved Darlington landmark. I am delighted that Latimer Hinks has been fortunate enough to contribute to this process.”
Tees Cottage Pumping Station on Coniscliffe Road is open to the public ten days a year and also hosts school visits.