Amended plans to convert a historic building on the banks of the River Tweed into housing are recommended for approval this week.
Northumbrian Water’s outline bid for 10 homes at its former waterworks on Dock Road in Tweedmouth was initially approved at last July’s meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council.
A number of councillors were unhappy about the lack of detail with it being an outline application, but the scheme was given the nod by five votes to zero with four abstentions.
The scheme was then one of a series of previously-approved proposals which was due to go back before the local area council for another decision in November, to be reassessed in light of the Government’s updated and refreshed planning rulebook, the NPPF.
But the waterworks bid was withdrawn from that agenda at late notice, prior to this updated application being lodged, and it is now recommended for approval when the committee meets on Thursday (January 24).
The redevelopment would still see the existing depot building converted into six apartments across two floors, involving an extension to the rear of the building, while four two storey, semi-detached properties would be built to the south-east of the depot and the disused reservoir would be removed.
However, the new application is a hybrid one, seeking full planning permission for the depot element and outline permission for the four new-build houses.
Permission would be subject to a section 106 legal agreement to secure £6,000 in coastal mitigation funding (£600 per dwelling).
Assurances were previously given that the development, if approved, would have no impact on the neighbouring Goodie Patchy woodland, which is subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).
Berwick Town Council, St Boisil’s Residents’ Association and charity Woodland Education and Training (WET), who all expressed concerns over whether housing is the most appropriate use for the site, have maintained their objections to the new application.
But at last July’s meeting, the agent Katherine Simpson said this proposal was a ‘valuable opportunity to bring a disused site back into use’.
The waterworks building was purpose-built in 1914 to replace an earlier building on the site.
For much of the 19th century, the application site was occupied by Tower Foundry, established around 1800 by John Robertson & Co.
There was a sandstone quarry to the rear, which provided materials for many of Berwick’s buildings.
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service