Start date revealed for repairs on the White Swan Hotel in Alnwick

Long-awaited repairs to an Alnwick hotel are finally expected to begin next week.

Friday, 14th February 2020, 6:00 am

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

Classic Lodges, which owns the hotel, has now received the planning consent it needed from Northumberland County Council to begin work.

Repairs are now scheduled to begin on Tuesday, February 18 and take around two months.

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The White Swan in Alnwick.

Richard Grime, managing director, said: “I am very pleased to confirm that last Friday we were granted a full discharge of the consents required to begin the work to restore the balcony above the gateway.

“The contractor was immediately mobilised and will be on site from Tuesday to begin the process of removing the balcony and then the stone façade followed by its replacement. The work should take eight weeks.”

He added: “I would like to personally thank Gordon Castle for his support and representation to the planning authority to help expedite this torturous process.”

Repair works had to be postponed twice in January while the company awaited the discharge of pre-commencement conditions from the planning authority.

Stonework for the balcony at the White Swan.

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 month when he labelled the site an ‘eyesore’ and complained that people in wheelchairs and buggies have had to negotiate temporary ramps for all that time.

The Grade II listed building dates from the 18th century.

Its most distinctive feature is the Olympic Suite, a large room furnished with interior decorations from the RMS Olympic – the sister ship of Titanic.