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New homes for ex-Northumberland council base

Prospect House. Picture from Google
Prospect House. Picture from Google

Plans to convert a prominent building in Hexham, which spent decades as a council base, into housing have been given the go-ahead.

The scheme, which will create 18 homes at the grade II-listed Prospect House on Hallgate, was approved by members of the Tynedale Local Area Council at its meeting last Tuesday (July 10).

The site includes a number of buildings, including the three-storey Prospect House itself, numbers 1 and 10 Hallgate, a former stable block and a former storehouse, all of which are physically linked.

These buildings will be converted into 16 one or two-bedroom residential units.

The site also includes a number of cottages on the southern part, which are now connected to Prospect House, although originally they were separate.

The most easterly cottage has a modern, brick-built, flat-roofed extension which would be demolished and replaced by two new two-bedroom cottages.

In addition, 20 car-parking spaces would be created to the rear along with a bin storage area.

The proposals, in the Hexham Conservation Area, sparked five objections, including one from Hexham Civic Society, on a number of grounds.

However, the planning officer’s report concluded that it ‘is considered, despite the concerns expressed, that the redevelopment of Prospect House, subject to relevant conditions, would bring this important building in the centre of Hexham back into use’.

Prospect House was taken over as the headquarters of Hexham Rural District Council in 1939 and later used as offices and for council meetings by Tynedale District Council before it passed to the county council in 2009 when Northumberland became a unitary authority.

The county council sold the building in 2016 and since then the authority has spent £1.5million converting Hexham House into a wedding complex and invested £500,000 to create a hub of council and cultural services at the Queen’s Hall.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service