The Duchess of Northumberland believes Alnwick needs a hotel which caters for the niche, deluxe market and wants the town to develop in the same way as Morpeth.
She has also revealed her passion for the area and is upset that Alnwick has had a number of empty shops over the years.
The Duchess was responding to recent comments in a regional newspaper where she said that Morpeth had ‘done pretty well in retaining its individuality and quirkiness’, whereas it was ‘really sad to see Alnwick lined with charity shops’.
In the same discussion, she went on to say that she was disappointed that Alnwick did not have more ‘quirky, interesting’ gift shops, but felt the town had all the components for individuality.
In a further jibe, she branded some of the hotels in Alnwick as ‘a joke’.
Responding to these statements which appeared in an article over the weekend, she told the Gazette: “My comments were not meant to cause any offence as I am passionate about the town of Alnwick, its future development and economic success.
“Seeing so many empty shops over the years in Alnwick has upset many people, including me.
“I have seen what appears to be a buoyant economy in Morpeth and I hope Alnwick might develop in a similar way.
“With regard to hotels, while there are many good hotels in Alnwick, we need one that caters for the niche, deluxe market which we do not currently have.
“I have heard many visitors say that they prefer to stay in Newcastle hotels than in Alnwick. I would like to see their money spent locally.”
The Duchess’ comments sparked a mixed reaction from traders and residents.