New boutique hotel planned for Northumberland town gets the green light
Plans for a boutique hotel in Alnwick have been given the green light.
A high quality 12-bedroom redevelopment of Sion Hall, a former meeting hall and chapel on St Michael’s Lane, is envisaged.
James Hudson, planning officer at Northumberland County Council stated: ‘It is considered redevelopment of the existing building would result in improved tourist facilities in Alnwick that would be compatible with the existing, surrounding town centre uses.
‘The proposal represents an appropriate form of development that would not have a significant adverse impact on the street scene or the amenity of nearby residents.’
There would be no designated parking but it is proposed that some resident permits or town centre business permits could be obtained to enable staff and guests to park on the off-street bays on St Michael’s Lane or in Roxboro’ Place car park.
Alnwick Town Council had expressed concern about the lack of parking, although councillors welcomed extra hotel spaces and bringing a historic building back into use.
There were two objections in relation to parking and noise and amenity impact of the development.
However, highways and public protection departments deemed the application acceptable.
The Grade II-listed building, dating from 1729, was used as a warehouse and sales point for a motor factor’s business until around five years ago.
The initial plan was to convert the buildings into five apartments but work stalled more than two years ago.
Current owner Abdul Aziz now aims to tap into the demand for visitor accommodation in the town.
A planning report on the applicant’s behalf states: ‘The project is seeking to exploit a growing business opportunity – that of small boutique hotels in attractive tourist destinations within Northumberland.
‘The applicant wants to be able to utilise the historic environment of the Sion Meeting House and its setting in St Michael’s Lane to do so.
‘Alnwick has few hotels in the centre of the town which is unusual given its importance as a tourist destination.
‘Timing of the development could be beneficial coming on stream in 2021 and able to take advantage and support what is anticipated to be a strengthened home tourism market in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.’
It is estimated that five full-time equivalent jobs would be created.