Bid to convert Alnwick Library building into housing

Plans to convert the current Alnwick Library building into apartments have been lodged with the county council.

By Ben O'Connell
Monday, 4th March 2019, 4:06 pm
Updated Monday, 4th March 2019, 4:07 pm
Alnwick Librarys current home on Green Batt, where four apartments are being proposed, with the garage to be demolished on the left.
Alnwick Librarys current home on Green Batt, where four apartments are being proposed, with the garage to be demolished on the left.

When the major refurbishment of Alnwick Playhouse is completed later this year, one of the new services to be co-located there is the library, whose current home on Green Batt has been sold.

Now, Paul Thurlby has submitted an application to Northumberland County Council seeking permission to convert the former school, built in the early 19th century, into four residential units.

Part of the frontage of the building housing Alnwick Library.

Located in Alnwick’s conservation area, it is proposed to keep the main building as it is, although there are some new and replacement extensions proposed to the side and rear.

The scheme would keep the overall frontage to the building apart from the demolition of the old garage on the eastern side.

The application explains that to this side of the building, there is currently a gap to the frontage due to the set-back neighbouring bungalows and the removal of the garage ‘will enhance this open space, allow for a small extension which will expose more of the older gable of the library and enhance the views to this vista’.

The plans show two one-bedroom flats plus two two-bedroom units where the second bedroom and an en-suite bathroom are on the first floor. All of the apartments will have their own entrances.

A plaque on the wall which explains the buildings origins.

Seven parking spaces will be provided to the rear via the existing vehicular access, albeit with the garage removed.

A design and access statement submitted with the application concludes: ‘This application proposes the conversion of a soon-to-be redundant library space into usable residential accommodation. The accommodation due to its size will be affordable and of high quality.

‘Discussions with the planners has occurred in the past and it has been deemed an acceptable change to the building.

‘The new extensions will enhance the existing building and the inclusion of a modern extension to the rear will cause no adverse impact to the history of the site and allow its retained use going into the future.’

The traditional stone property, which was the original home of the Duke’s School, was formerly owned by Northumberland Estates and leased to Northumberland County Council.

When it was put up for sale early in 2016, it was reported that the lease would expire in either October 2017 or 2020, but it has now been indicated that the council intends to return possession to the new owner to coincide with the library’s move to the Playhouse.

The building was assessed for listing in 2008, but it did not meet the criteria due to additions made in the late 19th and 20th centuries, both inside and out.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service