New bid for homes on Alnwick industrial site

The site plan of the refused redevelopment of Willowburn Trading Estate, for which an appeal is still live. The amended scheme removes the outcrop of land to the north.
The site plan of the refused redevelopment of Willowburn Trading Estate, for which an appeal is still live. The amended scheme removes the outcrop of land to the north.

A new plan has been lodged for a housing development on an Alnwick industrial estate, the site of a refused bid which is currently going through the appeal process.

An outline scheme for around 125 new homes on Willowburn Trading Estate was refused unanimously by the county council’s strategic planning committee last July.

The proposal, by Northern Commercial Properties, registered at the Estates Office at Alnwick Castle, and the Harris & Sheldon Group (the county council was one of the applicants before withdrawing), was recommended for approval at the previous month’s meeting, but was deferred for a site visit.

Between the two meetings, the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan, which does not allow residential development on this site as it is designated as employment land, passed referendum and led officers to recommend refusal at the July meeting.

In January this year, we reported that the applicants had lodged an appeal and the Planning Inspectorate decided that the appeal should be heard at a public inquiry.

It has now been revealed that this hearing will start at 10am on Tuesday, July 17, at County Hall in Morpeth. It is expected to last six days.

But, in the meantime, a new outline application has been submitted to the council by agents WYG on behalf of Northern Commerical and the Harris & Sheldon Group.

The number of homes has been reduced to 100 and the site boundary has been reduced, mainly through the removal of the northern outcrop of the original scheme which houses Northumberland County Council’s former depot, no longer in use following the opening of the new Lionheart facility.

Nonetheless, it remains an application for housing development on what is designated as employment land in Alnwick’s neighbourhood plan and the site includes the home of Hardy and Greys, owned by Pure Fishing.

When the scheme was first announced in July 2016, Pure Fishing’s Grant Ottignon-Harris said that the company had recently signed a new five-year lease with the option of extending it for a further five years.