Work on engine shed to halt for the winter

Terry Hodgkinson on site at the Engine Shed in Whitby''w131620e
Terry Hodgkinson on site at the Engine Shed in Whitby''w131620e

From the outside things don’t appear to have progressed much at Whitby’s engine shed.

But inside, the historic building is as good as new, according to developer Terry Hodgkinson.

The former Yorkshire Forward chief-turned-property developer said: “We’re still on track. We’ve got it all cleaned up, tidy and raring to go.”

The engine shed is set to be transformed into a gallery, which would make it the largest privately-owned showcase for local artists in the county.

However, delays in securing funding from sources such as the Arts Council have meant the shed will not be ready for the initially-proposed opening date of March next year.

This date had been chosen to coincide with the anniversary of Mr Hodgkinson’s marriage to wife Anne, and he said: “I’m going to have to buy her something nice now instead.”

The redevelopment will now pause over the winter while funding is gathered and because poor weather would make working around the 166-year-old building difficult.

“The message from the Arts Council is we need to do some more groundwork, spending a bit more time working on the business plan. We have lots and lots of artists wanting to come in, but they don’t pay the bills - it’s the people that buy the sculptures and pictures that do that.”

For years the engine shed‘s future was in doubt and the building was in serious danger of falling into disrepair.

But since acquiring the building in January, Mr Hodgkinson has been able to secure its structural strength, and now the building “looks like new” inside.

But such work isn’t cheap and the new doors that have been installed cost £7,500.

“We’re not going to give it in, it’s such a major building in Whitby and it’s been saved,” he said.

A cafe will also form part of the attractions at the engine shed, but Mr Hodgkinson said any interested parties are waiting for the further funding to be secured before committing to the development.