A RUNDOWN stable block and motor house has moved a step closer to being converted into artists’ studios and historical information centre.

Development for the semi-derelict building, next to the Grade II-listed Haworth Art Gallery in Accrington, will be completed after £46,500 of funding was secured, it was revealed.

Activities held at the finished building will include seminars on the rise of the car, tours, journeys through Accrington via horse and vintage cars, a vintage car fair, and regular workshops.

A public consultation was held with architects Buttress Fuller Alsop Williams on Thursday night, with various layout options discussed.

The building has been recognised by English Heritage as a ‘rarity of national importance’ and is owned by the borough council. The gallery and the council were granted the money by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Gallery coordinator Yvonne Robins said: “This is an extremely exciting project that will open up new opportunities for artists, visitors and local community groups.”

The stables were built in 1909 alongside the house at Hollins Hill, which is now the art gallery. Purpose-built as a stable and ‘motor house’, the building encompasses a time when cars were becoming more common and horse drawn transport was in decline.

As a result, it attracted attention from English Heritage as a rare building demonstrating the evolution of the country house in the Edwardian period.

In its application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the council said: “The stables and motor house will be renovated to ensure that it is weather-tight and in a good state of repair.

“The necessary modifications will be made to the stables and motor house to allow its future use as artists workshops and studios.

“Visitors will discover the building's heritage through a variety of activities and displays.”