A third scheme for Allerburn House, the former headquarters of Alnwick District Council, has now been lodged, despite a previous approval and refusal, with the new bid retaining the most controversial element of the refused application.
The first overhaul by Ascent Homes, which was unveiled back in 2016, was approved by the council’s strategic planning committee in January last year and the permission remains extant.
That scheme features 10 new four and five-bedroom houses, while Allerburn House and other existing buildings would be converted into seven apartments, two homes and a bungalow.
In late 2017, Ascent attempted to get changes approved by varying the original planning permission, but was told by the county council that it would have to submit a separate application.
Lodged in February this year, it sought the refurbishment of the lodge, the conversion of Allerburn House into three apartments, the demolition of ad-hoc extensions and the erection of 14 new-build units, including six three-storey townhouses.
The original proposals were largely accepted by neighbours, but this bid, despite having fewer properties overall, sparked more objections from Allerburn Lea residents and one from Alnwick Town Council, particularly in relation to the three-storey properties.
At the time, Duncan Bowman, development director at Ascent Homes, said: “Allerburn House itself is three storeys in height and, with the sloping nature of the development, Allerburn House will always retain its rightful prominence.”
Planning officers recommended approval, but members of the North Northumberland Local Area Council unanimously rejected the scheme in April.
Now, another application has gone in – for just part, not the whole of the site included in the approved scheme – to convert Allerburn House into three apartments, demolish the ad-hoc extensions and build six three-bedroom townhouses.
Ian Lawrence, an Allerburn Lea resident, said: “The residents here aren’t dinosaurs, we accept that development is necessary for housing and an increasing population to support local services.
“We supported the original plans for detached homes and nine apartments in the old house, which still stand as the only approved planning for the site, but Ascent seems determined not to implement them.”
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service