Villagers urge Duke to think again over holiday lets

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VILLAGERS faced with a chronic shortage of affordable homes in their community have urged the Duke of Northumberland to reconsider building 10 holiday lets on the site of a former boys’ club – even though he has permission to do so.

A packed meeting room in the Hindmarsh Hall in Alnmouth saw residents vote unanimously for a proposal that the development of the Boys’ Club on Foxton Road should be for residential accommodation and not for holiday apartments.

Planning permission was granted to the Duke’s business wing, Northumberland Estates, last month to demolish the 1930s building to make way for the new visitor venture.

But the Duke is now being asked to change his mind, after local people said there was a much greater need for appropriate residential accommodation for people wishing to move into the village, as well as for some older residents who had expressed a wish to downsize but remain in Alnmouth.

Chairman of the parish council, Bill Bourne, said: “Residents are dismayed that a generous gift to the community by a village resident, Mrs Scholefield, in 1938 had turned into a development opportunity for Northumberland Estates, with the village having nothing left to show for what had once been a substantial community asset.

“We will be writing to Northumberland Estates asking them to take into account the strong feelings in the village and to reconsider their proposals.

“We believe there is a moral obligation to ensure that the tradition of community benefit established by Mrs Scholefield at this site should continue to meet the needs of the community. We hope that we can have discussions with Northumberland Estates and come to a satisfactory outcome for all concerned.”

A spokesman for Northumberland Estates said: “The Northumberland Estates has previously been in discussions with Alnmouth Parish Council and is continuing the dialogue in relation to securing a potential residential scheme in Alnmouth village.”