Work starts to repair wall

Oscars in Alnwick
Oscars in Alnwick

Work is underway to re-open an Alnwick alley which has been closed for more than a year.

Bow Alley was closed in July last year after health and safety concerns about a bulge in the gable-end wall of Oscars Bar, on Narrowgate.

But in October part of the wall collapsed leaving a pile of rubble in the alley.

It left the bar and the alley closed indefinitely, meaning businesses that were along the street were forced to move to new premises.

In November, Northumberland County Council put up a metal structure to stabilise the building prior to any works taking place.

Now, after a legal wrangle with the owner of the building, the council has appointed contractors to repair the wall which will lead to the re-opening of Bow Alley in the near future.

Alnwick Coun Gordon Castle said: “This is the result of long discussions I had with senior officers at the county council about the future of Bow Alley because they couldn’t leave it like that.

“Because of the impact on the council and the economic impact in the street we accepted that something had to be done.

“I believe there has been some discussion with the owners and as a result of a general agreement the council decided to take this course of action to restore the current situation. Rebuilding the wall and reopening Bow Alley will make the whole area economically viable.

“It’s wonderful news and I am pleased that it means Bow Alley will soon be reopened.”

He added that the council will pursue the owners for remuneration for the work once it is finished.

A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council said: “Work has started on the Oscars site. New foundations have been laid and work is on-going to rebuild the structure at the gable end. Bow Alley will be reopened to the public once the works have been completed.”

Derek Charlton, who owns Oscars, told the Gazette after the incident that it has ‘ruined’ the business as an insurance claim was denied as the collapse was due to a pre-existing condition.