Further delays over White Swan repairs as Alnwick hotel awaits permissions

Long-awaited repairs to an Alnwick hotel have been delayed again.

Tuesday, 26th May 2020, 11:00 am
White Swan Hotel, Alnwick

Work at the White Swan on Bondgate Within was scheduled to begin this week but has had to be postponed while clearance is awaited from the planning department at Northumberland County Council.

“Regrettably the planning authority have not yet discharged the pre-commencement conditions required to carry out the work,” explained Richard Grime, managing director of Classic Lodges.

“We are therefore unable to make any start as to do so would put us in risk of a breach of the legislation covering listed buildings.

“Without approval we have now lost another slot with our contractors to get cracking on the work.”

The hotel has been cloaked in scaffolding for nearly two years because of damage to a balcony and archway.

It is the second delay this month, with Classic Lodges having initially anticipated making a start on site on January 6.

A significant piece of the balcony became disconnected from the structure of the building in 2018. A safety review was then carried out. It was established that the entire balcony structure was at risk and the area by the arch was unstable.

The building’s listed status also meant repairs could not be carried out quickly.

Planning permission for the repairs was granted last autumn but, as part of the planning requirements, the company was required to produce and undertake a significant amount of pre-commencement works for the council.

Concerns about the delay were raised by Coun Peter Broom at a meeting of Alnwick Town Council earlier this month when he labelled the site an ‘eyesore’.He also complained that people in wheelchairs and buggies have had to negotiate temporary ramps for all that time.A spokesman for Northumberland County Council said: "We were able to approve the discharge of some of the conditions in November.“Now that the applicant has formally submitted the paperwork that we require to consider the others we will be evaluating these, and making a decision, as soon as possible."