Praise for boutique hotel plans in Alnwick - but concerns hang over parking

Plans for a boutique hotel in Alnwick have been welcomed by town councillors, despite concerns at the absence of designated parking.

Tuesday, 22nd September 2020, 11:43 am

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.

Cllr Geoff Watson, speaking at an Alnwick Town Council planning committee meeting, said: “I generally welcome it because we have been short of hotel spaces in Alnwick for many years but there is a parking issue.”

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Sion Hall in Alnwick.

Cllr Martin Swinbank added: “It looks like a well thought out application in terms of preserving the building’s heritage and retaining its external features, although I don’t think there is very much left inside.

"Bringing it back into a good state of repair is a good thing and it will create some jobs.

"We have been trying to drive Alnwick as a tourist destination and we need places for people to stay close to the town centre.

"If people bring bikes, that’s great, but the downside is that if people bring cars they will have to park somewhere and that is the only major sticking point I can see with the application.”

Councillors noted that, if necessary, applicant Abdul Aziz is prepared to contribute to the surfacing and marking out of 12 parking spaces within Roxboro’ Place car park.

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.

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.’

The application will be determined by Northumberland County Council.

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