Plans submitted for overhaul of elderly housing

An artist's impression of Abbeyfield's proposed Alnwick hub, subject to further consultation and planning permission.
An artist's impression of Abbeyfield's proposed Alnwick hub, subject to further consultation and planning permission.

Abbeyfield’s bid to completely overhaul its elderly-housing provision in Alnwick has been submitted to the county council.

The plans would see the existing Abbeyfield House and Ravenslaw House, on South Road, replaced with a major three-storey development featuring 28 Extra-Care flats for independent living – 16 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom – alongside 31 care suites.

An Abbeyfield spokeswoman said: “This is a really exciting venture, not only for Abbeyfield but the local community too. The development will create much-needed jobs, apprenticeships, and most significantly it will provide high-quality specialist accommodation for older people including those living with dementia.”

The proposals were unveiled to the public at a consultation event in November, which followed concerns raised by neighbouring residents over the demolition of the historic Ravenslaw House, once the home of one of the town’s famous sons, fishing tycoon William Hardy.

Abbeyfield is now awaiting the outcome of the planning application and will not start any demolition work on site before a planning decision has been made.

Background to the application

February 2014: Abbeyfield unveiled a pioneering hub-and-spokes model for housing to offer choice to the elderly of Alnwick and its surrounding rural and coastal communities.

November 2014: Neighbours expressed dismay at the proposed demolition of Ravenslaw House, once home to William Hardy.

This week, Jim Thompson, chairman of Abbeyfield North Northumberland Extra Care Society, said: “There are architectural limitations of the existing buildings and they do not meet the needs and rising expectations of older people in the 21st century.”