Amended housing bid submitted

Allerburn House.
Allerburn House.

New plans have been lodged with the county council for a residential development on the Allerburn House site in Alnwick.

A scheme for the former HQ of Alnwick District Council, by Ascent Homes – the house-building arm of the council’s development company Arch, has been approved, but it has now been changed to the extent that it requires a new application to be submitted.

The first overhaul, which had been unveiled back in 2016, was approved by the council’s strategic planning committee in January last year and the planning permission remains extant.

This scheme would see 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.

Then, in January this year, we reported that a new bid was in the pipeline following complaints from neighbouring residents that proposed amendments were ‘substantial and significant’.

Now, that has been lodged and Ascent Homes is seeking 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.

Essentially, the new scheme features 18 rather than 20 homes in total, but there are now just three apartments and 15 houses.

A resident of Allerburn Lea, Peter Groves, said: “Demolition (rather than conversion and refurbishment) of the majority of Allerburn House and its replacement with six three-storey town houses is at odds with Arch’s original intentions for Allerburn House and not in the spirit of the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan.

“It demonstrates an over-riding objective to maximise the development, with little regard for retaining and improving the existing heritage of Allerburn House and is completely out of keeping with the surrounding built environment, which consists solely of one and two-storey houses.”

Duncan Bowman, development director at Ascent Homes, said: “We have worked with the planning department on the scheme revisions to preserve the character of this special location, with particular work on retaining views of Allerburn House from within the site. The layout of the scheme very much respects the existing buildings and landscaped area.

“Allerburn House is being preserved and only the latter more recent extension is being demolished. The number of housing units on the site from the original application has now reduced.

“Allerburn House itself is three storeys in height and, with the sloping nature of the development, Allerburn House will always retain its rightful prominence.”