Former Northumberland bookshop set for redevelopment under new plans

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Plans have been lodged to redevelop a building in Morpeth town centre which housed a well-known bookshop with a 130-year history.

Elsewhere, there are proposals for a mixed retail and residential development involving the part demolition of a building behind Newgate Street.

An application has been submitted to Northumberland County Council to change the use of the old Appleby’s bookshop, which closed in 2014, to a mixed retail and leisure use.

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This is to enable Play.Co Morpeth Ltd to introduce a small play frame and first-floor sensory space within the three-storey building, which has been vacant while renovations take place.

File picture of Appleby's Bookshop in Morpeth taken in 2014File picture of Appleby's Bookshop in Morpeth taken in 2014
File picture of Appleby's Bookshop in Morpeth taken in 2014

The bid explains that the scheme seeks to improve the local offer of facilities for youngsters with special educational needs and disabilities and the availability of leisure provision for children under five, in addition to servicing retail needs of those with children under five.

A planning statement with the application says: ‘It remains the objective of Play.Co Morpeth Ltd to return use to the building in a manner which enhances the local offer, local surrounding, and increases footfall to a quieter pedestrian area, but dense in offering, of the town retail offer.’

No external works are included in the application and no demolition or internal structure changes to the current layout will be made.

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Meanwhile, David Chambers is seeking permission to demolish part of the existing premises behind 26-28 Newgate Street and replace it with a mix of retail and residential units.

The site in question, which is next to the T&G Allan alleyway, is accessed from Lumsden’s Lane and is currently occupied by two companies.

The proposals would see the existing two-storey building replaced with a three-storey structure containing two ground-floor retail units and three flats – a first-floor, single-storey apartment, a second-floor, single-storey apartment and a duplex apartment over the top two floors.

A planning statement concludes: ‘The redevelopment of the rear part of the site to supply high-quality retail space and residential accommodation provides an exciting opportunity in a much sought-after area of Morpeth.’

It added that the the plans will enhance the look of the street, and will help increase footfall to that area, benefiting other companies on the stretch.