Trading estate de-allocated for employment use

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A trading estate in Alnwick has been de-allocated for continued employment use due to high vacancy rates and the poor condition of existing premises, as part of a key planning document which is out for consultation.

The proposal, for the town’s Willowburn Industrial Estate, is within the core strategy of the local plan for the county. It is part of a number of modifications to the document and the public is being invited to give its views.

It is believed that the state of the site in Alnwick makes it largely unviable for units to be redeveloped in the future.

A county-council spokeswoman said: “The council has been informed that the majority of buildings are either vacant or the leases are soon to end and the owner is not looking to renew these.

“Some of the buildings are in a very poor state of repair and are not fit for modern industry. As such it is unlikely to be viable for these to be redeveloped for employment use.

“Some buildings are occupied and are modern commercial premises and it is the council’s understanding that these are to be retained if the site was to be redeveloped for other uses.

“It is not anticipated that job losses will result from this change in policy protection.”

Meanwhile, the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan intends to allocate additional land for employment use and the core strategy supports the provision of at least an additional 10 hectares, the location of which will be confirmed by the Neighbourhood Plan.

Areas of employment sites developed for retail use do not require policy protection and will be de-allocated, just like Willowburn Industrial Estate, which is home to the likes of Pure Fishing, which bought the Hardy and Greys brand.

Consultation to modifications to the core strategy runs from Wednesday until Wednesday, July 27. The consultation will be the final stage before the strategy is submitted for review by a Government inspector.

Copies will be available on the council’s website, in council planning receptions, libraries and information points.