Demolition work has begun at derelict site

The empty Johnnie Johnson Housing scheme.
The empty Johnnie Johnson Housing scheme.

Work has started to demolish an eyesore building which has sat derelict for a number of years – and the chairman of the village’s parish council hopes the site can be used for affordable or older people’s sheltered housing.

The former Johnnie Johnson Housing plot in Longhoughton is to be knocked down over the next 10 weeks, before the land is transferred to Northumberland County Council.

At last month’s meeting of the parish council, members criticised the tatty appearance of the property and were keen for an update regarding the future of the site.

This week, the county council said that there are no firm plans for the land following demolition, but parish council chairman Bryan Ellis has stated what he would like to see happen.

He told the Gazette: “The building is not in good condition. It is an eyesore and is it a bit vulnerable to vandalism.

“Following demolition, I think they will grass the site over. In the long term, it would make a good site for affordable housing or even for older people’s sheltered housing.

“There is a shortage of provision for older people in the area now and I think there is a demand for sheltered housing. The site’s proximity to the Co-op makes it a good facility.”

Coun Ellis was speaking a few hours ahead of this month’s parish council meeting, which took place on Monday. At the meeting, members said social housing has previously been muted for the site, but no formal planning application has been forthcoming.

The demolition work is being carried out by contractors for Johnnie Johnson.

Explaining the history of the site, a company spokeswoman said: “Johnson House was closed in April 2012 and the Johnnie Johnson Housing Trust has looked at various options for the scheme, including the sale of the building. However after long discussions with Northumberland County Council, it was agreed the best course of action is to demolish the scheme.

“There was no demand for bedsit flats in the village which was the reason the decision to close the scheme was taken, there was also no alternative uses for the building.”