Playhouse plan ‘to go ahead as expected’

Alnwick Playhouse
Alnwick Playhouse

Updates on the likes of Arch, Active Northumberland and the delayed scheme to create a community hub in Alnwick Playhouse were given to Alnwick Town Council by the two county councillors for the town.

It followed a request by town councillors for further information on the reviews taking place into Arch and Active Northumberland, which were launched after the Conservatives formed the new county-council administration after the May elections, and how they may affect projects in Alnwick.

Coun Robbie Moore told last Thursday’s meeting that the review of Arch, the development company wholly owned by the council, was still ongoing.

As previously reported by the Gazette, he said that it ‘has uncovered a number of issues which have been reported to the police’.

Arch is continuing to deliver services across Northumberland, he added, which in Alnwick includes The Maltings development and ongoing talks about the town’s Youth Hostel.

Arch tenants will not be impacted as part of the ongoing review.

Coun Gordon Castle added: “Future developments have been frozen, but any existing commitments will continue.”

The review of Active Northumberland, the council partner delivering leisure services, has recently been completed, but as of last Thursday, the results had not been presented to the board of what is a charitable trust.

Coun Cath Homer, the cabinet member responsible for leisure services, is happy to come to speak to the town council once the board has been informed and had a chance to respond, likely to be the January meeting.

On the long-awaited scheme for a community hub in Alnwick Playhouse, Coun Castle said: “I’m quite confident that there’s no longer any impediment to this going ahead as expected.”

Proposals to use the venue as a community hub, retaining the auditorium, but also using the building to house the library and other council services, such as tourist information, were first put forward more than two -and-a-half years ago.

And, despite announcing ‘an agreement in principle’ in April 2016, there have been a number of issues to resolve since then.

Coun Castle also said that while a number of issues had been reported on the road to the new high school, it has not yet been adopted.