Bid to create smaller shop and new homes at property in Berwick that was formerly an Edinburgh Woollen Mill store

Plans to bring a property in Berwick town centre that was formerly an Edinburgh Woollen Mill store back into use have been lodged.
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If the application by GJR Construction gets the green light from Northumberland County Council, alterations and a change of use would be carried out at 81 Marygate.

As described by a design and access statement submitted as part of the bid: ‘The proposals are to retain the shop with a smaller footprint and change the use of the remaining ground floor and upper floors to a 3-bed townhouse, 2 number 2-bed and one number 1-bed residential units.’

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The building is a substantial stone-built structure which the document said was originally said to be constructed in the 17th Century.

81 Marygate in Berwick pictured by Google in June 2023.81 Marygate in Berwick pictured by Google in June 2023.
81 Marygate in Berwick pictured by Google in June 2023.

The design and access statement also says: ‘The shop has had various guises until the last tenant (Edinburgh Woollen Mill) shut circa eight years ago.

‘The building has stood empty since then and has fallen into a poor state of repair.

‘Works would include removing the existing circa 1970s recessed shop front and replace with a new traditionally designed flush shop front, mirroring the new shopfront we have installed at 83 Marygate (the neighbouring building, which also included converting some of the space to accommodation).

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‘Since the last tenant vacated the building there has been no remedial or preventative maintenance, therefore the building has fallen into disrepair in various areas with water penetration affecting the historic structure.

‘The building deserves to be occupied and our clients have stepped in to provide a solution that will future-proof the historic building. We believe the proposals create a sympathetic renovation of the building, whilst improving its front elevation and setting on this main commercial street.

‘The buildings on the high street need to diversify to survive – larger footprint shops that required two seasons of stock storage are a thing of the past and are more suited to out of town shopping parks.

‘The high street needs to adapt or perish and our clients have committed to invest heavily to bring this building back to life and to re-establish itself on the high street as a viable commercial space with lower rent and rates making it affordable to a new start up/local business.’