Part of historic Old Courthouse in Cockermouth collapses into river

Part of a historic building in Cumbria has collapsed into a river.

A section of the back of the Old Courthouse in Cockermouth has fallen away, including the back walls over three floors, sections of flooring and parts of the roof.

The bridge over the River Cocker has been closed after the collapse and people are being urged to avoid the area.

The Environment Agency said that although the building collapsed near the flood walls, the walls remain intact and the town’s flood risk has not increased as a result.

Concerns have been raised about the safety of the building since it was damaged by flooding in 2021, according to Cockermouth and District Civic Trust.

Mark Jenkinson, MP for Workington, criticised Cumberland Council for not taking action over the building sooner.

He shared the local authority’s post on X, formerly Twitter, and said: “Why have you allowed it to get to this point?

“This was entirely in your control. You have the powers to take control and do the work. Now it’s a more expensive job all round, with the risk that the rubble impacts flows. I know the previous owners raised this with you.”

A Cumberland Council spokesperson said: “The Old Courthouse is an iconic building in Cockermouth and we share local residents’ sadness following the recent partial collapse of the building.

“We are working with emergency services and partners to do all we can to assess the damage and take immediate steps to protect public safety.

“The bridge over the River Cocker has been closed as a precautionary measure and screening will be installed. Please avoid the area and follow any diversions in place.

“There have been no reports of any injuries and although some debris has landed into the river, the river is still flowing.

“The Environment Agency has confirmed that although the collapse is near to their flood walls, the walls remain intact and the town’s flood risk has not increased.

“A multi-agency response is now in place, and we will provide updates as soon as they are available.

“This is a privately owned building and has been an ongoing issue. We continue to work with the owner of the property, and partners.”

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