Northumberland pub set to be demolished and replaced with houses as plans due for approval

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Plans to replace a closed north Northumberland pub with two new homes could get the go-ahead next week.

The application to demolish the Black Bull Inn, at Bowsden, about six miles south of Berwick, and build two four/five-bedroom houses on the site is recommended for approval at Tuesday’s (July 7) virtual meeting of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee.

The proposals had been due to go before the North Northumberland Local Area Council in March, but the meeting was cancelled the day before as the coronavirus restrictions started to kick in.

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As previously reported, Northumberland County Council’s chief executive Daljit Lally has decided to suspend the powers of the five local area councils to deal with planning applications for six months.

The former Black Bull Inn at Bowsden.The former Black Bull Inn at Bowsden.
The former Black Bull Inn at Bowsden.

There has been criticism of this decision, which, according to the authority, is so ‘the resource and expertise necessary to hold such meetings can be concentrated on one committee as opposed to five, at a time when the organisation and running of virtual meetings is still very much in its infancy’.

Following this, it has been agreed that this application should be dealt with by the strategic planning committee.

The report to councillors states that it is understood the pub formally closed in 2014 and attempts since then to market it have been unsuccessful.

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It is proposed to replace the building with two detached, two-storey, L-shaped properties, with each using one of the existing entrances to the site – one from the minor public road to the west and the other directly off Main Street.

Bowsden Parish Council and nine residents have objected, with the former’s response describing the Black Bull as ‘akin to an asset of community value. It is a landmark and iconic part of Bowsden village’.

However, the planning officer’s conclusion considers that the impacts, including on the character of the area, are acceptable, while noting that independent verification has confirmed a pub would not be viable.

All sides will be heard before a final decision on the proposals is made.

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