Cafe plan for disused Berwick building gets the green light

The site of the proposed cafe/office development.The site of the proposed cafe/office development.
The site of the proposed cafe/office development.
Plans to bring a disused building in Berwick town centre back into use have been approved.

A cafe with office accommodation on the first and second floors are proposed at the prominent site on the corner of Bridge Street and Sandgate.

The Grade II listed building, understood to have been constructed in the early 19th century as a bank with manager’s flat above and most recently used as offices, has been empty for several years.

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A change of use application by J Slater has been approved by Northumberland County Council despite concerns raised by conservation officers.

It is planned to demolish a single storey rear extension, carry out internal alterations, create a new external fire escape staircase and doorways and replace its windows and rooflights.

A similar application had been refused by planners in July 2020, although an earlier proposal to install a log burner with associated steel flue has been removed from the scheme.

Built heritage and design officer, Ian McCaffery, reported: ‘The revised proposals have reduced the potential harm significantly from their earliest incarnations. Harm has not been eliminated entirely however, particularly regarding the ground floor plan.’

There were no objections.

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Jon Sharp, senior planning officer, said: ‘The applicant has agreed to amend the internal layout of the building to ensure that as much of the original structure of the building is retained whilst providing suitable spaces for the proposed end use.

‘As a result of the amendments secured the proposed changes to the external appearance of the building are acceptable in terms of scale, design and appearance.’