Former school makes way for new homes

DEMOLiTION of a former Alnwick church school has begun, to make way for a new housing development.

The bulldozers moved into the Thomas Percy Middle School site, on Blakelaw Road, which was vacated a year ago by the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle when its pupils switched to the new St Paul’s School on South Road.

St John’s RC First School on Lisburn Terrace was also closed as part of the merger and is earmarked for housing, but the site was hit by fire in June and subsequently cleared.

The cause of the blaze was never officially determined.

Colin Barnes, director of planning for Northumberland Estates – which is behind the scheme – said work had started to demolish Thomas Percy to prevent any future risk of fire or vandalism.

“We are now clearing the site to make way for re-development,” he said. “There was vandalism to the St John’s site and we wanted to make sure that this site is not a liability or prone to further incidents.

“Thorntons is carrying out the demolition and should be on site for a couple of weeks.

“The priority is to get the school buildings down and prepare for possible development starting next year.

“St John’s has been cleared and we have various developers looking at it, but we’re not yet in a position to say who will carry out the build.”

At St John’s, 29 homes have been approved, with a remodelled access onto Lisburn Street.

Outline planning permission for 15 self-build plots has been agreed for Thomas Percy, where buyers will submit their own individual applications for full approval. A new access road was also agreed.