I attended the public consultation on plans for the Duke’s School last Thursday and I have read the report on it by the Northumberland Estates on its website.
The residents with whom I spoke at the consultation were shocked by the proposals to build on half of the Duke’s field on the south side. We did not get the impression that the plans were ‘well received’, as stated by the spokesman for the Estates.
Support was not strong for the building of 85 units on the south side of the field, and the idea of a four-storey block for retirement living filled most with horror. We had never expected this.
On July 14, we attended a public meeting at the URC Church in Pottergate with Northumberland County Council to discuss plans for Alnwick and Denwick in the Neighbourhood Plan.
The officers categorically said that they did not envisage any building on the south side of the Duke’s field as it was a designated green space. Proposal ENV in the Plan lists the Duke’s playing field as a green space in Alnwick as there is very little public green space in the town.
Policy CF5 states that the historic character of the listed building should be respected, as should its setting. Having such a huge development so near does not respect it.
The road infrastructure around the Duke’s School will not lend itself to the influx of traffic that will evolve from 114 residential units, 29 apartments in the school.
The transport officer at the consultation insisted that the traffic generated would be the same as when the school was operational. We all told him that was untrue. Most children walked or were bussed to school. Very few parents drove their children to school. I can verify this, as can residents of the Dunterns. We saw just a few cars parked there after school.
We want the county council to look at these proposals very carefully and consider what is best for Alnwick.