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Controversial scheme set for green light

The site plan of the proposed redevelopment of Willowburn Trading Estate, with Pure Fishing in the red zone.
The site plan of the proposed redevelopment of Willowburn Trading Estate, with Pure Fishing in the red zone.

Controversial plans for about 125 homes on one of Alnwick’s trading estates look set to be approved next week, despite opposition locally.

The outline scheme, by Northern Commercial Properties, whose registered address is the Estates Office at Alnwick Castle; the Harris & Sheldon Group, Pure Fishing’s landlord; and Northumberland County Council, is recommended for approval at Tuesday’s meeting of the council’s strategic planning committee.

However, the use of this site for residential development is contrary to the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan, which is going to referendum later this month (see Page 16), and this scheme has sparked an objection from Alnwick Town Council.

In earlier drafts of the county council’s core strategy, this site was also allocated for employment use before a change was made in a later draft to deallocate it – a move that was questioned given that the county council is one of the three applicants/landowners.

As previously announced last June, the justification is the ‘high vacancy rates and the poor condition of existing premises, which largely make the site unviable’.

But the proposals were first unveiled last July – sparking a number of concerns – before the amendments to the core strategy were signed off and then the application was submitted in October.

The development also raises fears over the future of a number of businesses, including Pure Fishing – which bought the world-famous Hardy and Greys brands in 2013 – which are within the proposed building zone.