Plans for former Dickinsons store in Alnwick get the green light

Plans to breathe new life into the former home of Dickinsons in Alnwick town centre have been approved.

Saturday, 4th January 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Sunday, 5th January 2020, 12:40 am
The Fenkle Street shop frontage was turned into the fictional Bank of Northumbria for filming of TV series, The Heist.

Northumbria Property Developments Ltd (NPDL) has received permission to turn the Grade II-listed Fenkle Street property into seven holiday flats and two retail units.

Dickinsons closed in October 2017 and the company, which also had furniture stores in Hexham and Carlisle, went into administration two months later.

The retail space was most recently used as the fictional Bank of Northumbria during filming of Sky One TV series, The Heist, last summer.

Northumberland County Council planning officer Jon Sharp reported: ‘It is considered that the proposal is appropriate in relation to the host property and represents an appropriate form of development that would not have a significant adverse impact on the appearance or the architectural and historic interest of the property.’

There were no objections from local residents or statutory consultees.

The change of use application is similar in nature to a 2006 scheme which was granted approval but never happened.

In a report accompanying the new application, architect Simon Timperley, states: “NPDL have contacted various parties prior to submission of this application in order to gauge the level of support for these proposals and the reactions have been entirely in favour, particularly given the prominent nature of the building and the fact that in the current economic climate it is unlikely that a tenant or buyer would be found to continue the retail use throughout such a large premises

“However, Alnwick is a thriving market town with a strong tourist trade and therefore there is a market for smaller independent retailers and other high street uses.

“To that end it is proposed that retail use will be retained on the ground floor of the building whilst the rest of it is converted to provide holiday let accommodation in the form of seven flats to meet the burgeoning demand in the town.

“The character and features of the heritage asset are its selling point and therefore the works will be carried out so as to minimise the impact and restore some of the character by infilling some later openings and separating the building internally from the rear offshoot.”