Plans lodged to demolish 18th Century former Northumberland hall to make way for new homes

Plans to demolish an 18th century Northumberland hall, once a hub of the local community, have been lodged.

Saturday, 2nd January 2021, 7:00 am

An application has been submitted by Kevin Clark to demolish the disused Belford Community Club and build six residential units in its place.

Four town houses and a pair of two-storey properties are proposed on the West Street site of the former memorial hall, redundant since 2016.

A report on the applicant’s behalf states: ‘The houses are to be designed so that build costs are kept to a minimum and will be reflected in the sale price in order to provide affordable residential homes to suit local needs.

The former Belford Community Club.

‘The developer already has a vested interest in the community with the regeneration of the Black Swan, as well as the provision of self-catering accommodation annexed to the public house.

‘Due to the changes to the building over the years and the fact it has fallen into major disrepair, there is no historic value to the building and no original features that are deemed important. There will be more benefit to the community with the proposed regeneration of the site.’

An objection has been lodged by local resident Stephen Brook who believes the demolition of the building, a former church dating to 1776, ‘would constitute a tragic and irreparable loss to Belford’.

However, Belford Parish Council has welcomed the scheme.

Cllr Julian Cunningham said: “I support it because it’s better than what’s there currently.

Cllr Kerry Noble added: “We need to get rid of that eyesore and hopefully provide affordable housing

"Having been satisfied that the amenity of the war memorial will be protected, I would support this application wholeheartedly.

"I know we can’t make a condition that they’re not second homes but we could ask the developer for a covenant on the sale of each property that it is only for primary residential use.”

But Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, chairman and local county councillor, advised: “We could ask for that but the percentage of second homes in Belford isn’t at a level where that would be supported by the county council.”

Cllr Noble said: “These homes should be for local residents and we should do everything in our power to make sure that actually happens.”

A final decision will be made by Northumberland County Council.

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