A revised bid to transform the former HQ of Alnwick District Council into housing is set to get the go-ahead this week.
At its meeting on Thursday (April 19), members of the North Northumberland Local Area Council are recommended to approve the new application for Allerburn House, which has proved more controversial than the previously-approved scheme.
The first overhaul, which was unveiled back in 2016 by the house-building arm of Northumberland County Council-owned Arch, was approved by councillors in January last year and, for now, that permission remains extant.
This scheme would have seen new-build elements comprising six five-bedroom houses and four four-bedroom properties, while Allerburn House would be converted into four two-bedroom and three one-bedroom apartments.
One of the extensions to the north of Allerburn House would be refurbished for two two-bedroom homes, while the existing single-storey lodge building would be converted into a one-bedroom bungalow.
Now, Ascent Homes is set to get permission for the refurbishment of the lodge, the conversion of Allerburn House into three apartments, the demolition of ad-hoc extensions to Allerburn House and the erection of 14 new-build units, including six three-storey townhouses.
Essentially, the new scheme features 18 rather than 20 homes in total, but there are now just three apartments and 15 houses.
The original proposals were largely accepted by neighbours, but the new bid has sparked more objections from Allerburn Lea residents and one from Alnwick Town Council, with the most unpopular element being the three-storey properties.
Opponents also claimed that the developer has already started work on the new proposals, despite not having planning permission yet, saying that preparation for the six townhouses is visible on the site, but a spokeswoman for Ascent denied that this was the case.
If approved, Ascent Homes will have to provide an off-site affordable housing contribution of £87,488 as well as surrender its previous planning permission ‘to ensure that appropriate development is delivered on site’.
Caption: Neighbours claim that early work has begun on the six townhouses which did not form part of the original planning consent, but this has been denied.
By Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service