Cafe plans for former Spar shop in Northumberland village

A bid has been submitted to create a café by converting a former shop in the centre of a north Northumberland village.

An application for the change of use of the former Spar shop, in Longhoughton, including the formation of new window and door openings and internal alterations, has been lodged with Northumberland County Council.

The store closed in 2016, although a small part remained in use as a hairdresser’s, before it was purchased by applicant the Northumberland Estates last year.

The café would accommodate in the region of 40 covers, according to the application, with the proposed opening hours being 8.30am to 5pm, seven days a week, with baking starting in the kitchen from 6am.

The former Spar in Longhoughton. Picture from Google

The development would create five full-time and five part-time staff, a design and access statement explains.

The document also says: ‘This prominent building in the centre of the village is in a fantastic location for a high-quality café and the building needs to be brought back into use for the benefit of the local community and villagers.

‘Once permission has been secured, the Northumberland Estates will seek to secure a high-quality operator to run the café.’

It adds: ‘The only visible alterations will be the formation of six window openings and one patio-door opening to walls forming the main seating area.

‘Internally, alterations will be made to form male, female and accessible toilets, commercial kitchen.’

In 2018, the sale of the building by auction was postponed for six months when Longhoughton Parish Council applied successfully to get the site registered as an Asset of Community Value.

This gave the council a period to see if it could raise the funding to bid for the site or to agree to purchase it at an agreed price from the owners, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).

But despite pleas from MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the DIO was not prepared to agree to a separate sale and it was auctioned in May last year.

Prior to that, a village survey saw around 30% of respondents saying they wanted to see a café in Longhoughton, although 37% said they would like a new pub.