Repairs to Alnwick town centre 'eyesore' building scheduled to begin this month

Repairs to an Alnwick hotel are scheduled to begin later this month if planning clearance comes through.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 6:00 am
Scaffolding surrounding a balcomy at the White Swan Hotel in Alnwick. Picture by Jane Coltman
Scaffolding surrounding a balcomy at the White Swan Hotel in Alnwick. Picture by Jane Coltman

The White Swan on Bondgate Within has been cloaked in scaffolding for nearly two years because of damage to a balcony and archway.

However, hotel owners Classic Lodges are still awaiting the green light from Northumberland County Council to begin work.

Managing director Richard Grime revealed “We had anticipated making a start on site last week, January 6, however regrettably we are still awaiting Northumberland County Council to approve the discharge of three pre-commencement planning conditions.

White Swan Hotel, Alnwick

“The paperwork in relation to the conditions was resent to them in December and, subject to them confirming their approval, we will start work immediately to repair the balcony.

“The current start on site date is rescheduled for January 27. However that will be subject to us having the appropriate paperwork to make a lawful start. The listed status of the building restricts the work we can undertake without the approval of the planning team.

“I would like to reassure you that I, like everyone else in Alnwick, look forward to seeing this fabulous hotel without the scaffold and apologise for the duration and inconvenience it has caused.”

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 last week.

“It’s an eyesore in the town centre but it’s great if it’s going to move on,” he said.

“For two years people in wheelchairs and buggies have had to negotiate those terrible yellow temporary ramps. Something more permanent should have been put in place.”