Planning issues prevent progress at former hotel

The former Ryecroft Hotel in Wooler.
The former Ryecroft Hotel in Wooler.

The future of a landmark site on the way into Wooler is up in the air until the outcome of a planning appeal.

Phil Potter, from Commercial First, a funding bank which repossessed the Ryecroft Hotel after the business failed and went into administration, attended Monday night’s meeting of Wooler Parish Council.

Parish councillors have previously expressed concerns about the appearance of the site and the overgrown vegetation, particularly as it is visible from the A697 to anyone travelling through the village.

Mr Potter explained that Commercial First is keen to get things sorted and sell the site on as it is costing them money.

But a planning application to demolish the hotel and build flats has been refused twice and an appeal is currently being considered by the Planning Inspectorate.

“Clearly putting a single two-storey bungalow on that site would look ridiculous,” Mr Potter said.

“If nothing happens, our insurers will insist we board it up.

“We are really waiting for some indications from the Planning Inspectorate about how to proceed.”

Time-line of the planning saga

September 2013: Application submitted for block of 12 flats.

August 2014: The plans are withdrawn.

November 2014: Scheme resubmitted for 12 flats, but split across two buildings.

November 2015: The resubmitted scheme is refused under delegated powers as it would be ‘an obtrusive development which fails to integrate successfully into the street scene’ and ‘have an unacceptable impact on the outlook of residential neighbours’.

January 2016: Appeal submitted.