Plans for hotel at former Northumberland care home

A bid to convert a shuttered care home in Alnwick into a boutique hotel has been submitted to the county council.

Thursday, 3rd March 2016, 7:00 am

Plus, the Gazette understands that work is starting on the completion of the residential development at The Maltings, on Dispensary Street, which has sat unfinished for around seven years.

A planning application has been submitted to convert the former Ravensmount care home, on Alnmouth Road, into a 20-bedroom hotel.

The stalled development at the Maltings and Bolam's Yard in Alnwick.

In early December, we reported that the home was to close amid financial difficulties sparked by critical inspection reports earlier that year.

It had been given the lowest rating of inadequate following a visit by the Care Quality Commission, but while a new operator had taken over in the aftermath of this criticism, a referral suspension remained in place, meaning the low occupancy could not increase.

No external changes are proposed through the plans, but one neighbour has already raised concerns about parking; there are 10 spaces plus two disabled bays on the site.

David Ratliff, from Moorlands Holdings, said: “Moorlands Holdings owns the freehold of the large site and superb building known as Ravensmount, on arguably the best road in Alnwick.

The stalled development at the Maltings and Bolam's Yard in Alnwick.

“The current leaseholder tenants closed the former use as a residential care home and still hold the lease.

“Current other uses which can be considered without planning permission include use for younger residents, rehabilitation of offenders, asylum seekers, etc, as well as, of course, a nursing home.

“The current leaseholders may consider these. However, as freehold owners, our company considers a boutique niche hotel is an excellent added/other use, in an area requiring further tourism accommodation, following extensive consultations.

“This would provide many permanent jobs, not affecting the exterior aesthetics of the good building, aiding tourism and giving a further boost to the local economy. We believe the planners and neighbours would support such.”

Also, plans for a two-storey, three-bedroom property set into the hillside on land at Ravensmount was unanimously backed by members of Northumberland County Council’s planning and performance committee in January.

Meanwhile, the development of The Maltings and grade II-listed Bolam’s Mill has been taken on by Arch, which is wholly-owned by the county council, so the project can be completed and it now appears that work has started.

A £6million renovation by Northumberland-based Countylife Homes, known as the Malthouse and featuring 33 apartments and five offices with a glass atrium linking the two buildings, was halted in 2009 after the credit crunch hit.

Elsewhere, as we reported last month, an application to convert the former council chamber on Clayport Street into a restaurant and flats has been submitted to the county council.

Applicant Mike Rogerson is behind the bid to bring the key town-centre building, which is grade II-listed and known as the Old Post Office, back into use.

It is proposed to create a restaurant on the ground floor, catering for around 72 covers, along with a kitchen and lounge bar. The two upper floors would each become a separate flat – three bedrooms on the first floor and two bedrooms on the second floor.