AN historic town centre building in need of major structural repair has a new owner.

The Old Courthouse, on Cockermouth's Main Street, recently sold at auction for £51,000 to a man from London.

It has been owned by a town family since the 1970s. Alan Jackson said: "Hopefully the new owner will be able to resurrect it and keep it open for business."

The 192-year-old building was described by the Carlisle-based Auction House as a "substantial Grade II listed town centre property in need of major structural repair".

Mr Jackson had shown various interested people around the building before the auction - but not the new owner, who was bidding online.

"He's from London, I don't know what he is going to do with the property," said Mr Jackson.

"We walked around the building, I wanted to show him everything, and I handed over all the keys."

The new owner had a meeting with someone from the under water diving services team, he said.

The property details stated: "This mixed use investment property was last occupied by five tenants, the Honest Lawyer restaurant, two hairdressers, an antiques business and a residential flat.

"It was producing an annual income of around £38,000.

"Erosion of the riverbank has led to undermining of the rear, right hand corner of the property causing movement and cracking within the building. As a result a section 78 notice has been served by Allerdale Borough Council."

The building next to Cocker Bridge had to be evacuated in November after the fast flowing river eroded the stone section underneath it, rendering it unsafe.

Divers and a marine structural engineers were called in to inspect the damage.

Emergency interim repairs were carried out at the beginning of the year. A dive team placed two tons of bags filled with special cement underneath the property. The cement sets when water hits it. The owners spent £12,000 doing the work.

Under the hammer: