Thrunton brickworks housing plans approved

Plans for Thrunton Brickworks.Plans for Thrunton Brickworks.
Plans for Thrunton Brickworks.
An ‘eyesore’ former brickworks is set to be given a new lease of life after regeneration plans were approved.

The industrial site at Thrunton, off the A697, near Alnwick, has been derelict for eight years after it was gutted by fire.

But bosses at Northumberland County Council have now approved its overhaul and praised plans to bring a mix of homes and holiday lets to the location, as well as retain historic features, such as the works chimney.

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“If you travel along the A697 or towards Whittingham and Glanton, the site is an absolute eyesore,” said Steven Bridgett, county councillor for Rothbury.

Thrunton BrickworksThrunton Brickworks
Thrunton Brickworks

“It’s terrible and it has needed something done to it for a long time.

“I don’t often say this, but the scheme is one of the best designed schemes I’ve seen in a very long time, the applicant has looked at properties in nearby settlements and tried to model these properties on what is nearby.

“I think they’ve done it very sympathetically, I like the idea of the chimney remaining and the open space within it and I would ask for more applications like this.”

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Brick-making at the site stopped in 2008, following the start of the financial crisis and subsequent recession.

Thrunton Brickworks.Thrunton Brickworks.
Thrunton Brickworks.

It later became home to a ‘carpet disposal business’, before a fire in 2013 shut the venture down.

The blaze also destroyed the kilns previously used for brick production.

The application sought permission for 14 homes and three holiday lets to be built, as well as parking for the nearby Thrunton Long Crag Trout Fishery.

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The former brickworks chimney is also set to form the centre point of a ‘shared green space’.

Plans for Thrunton Brickworks.Plans for Thrunton Brickworks.
Plans for Thrunton Brickworks.

While the design was praised, some members of the North Northumberland Local Area Council criticised the intention to build homes on the site at all.

Green Party councillor Martin Swinbank said: “I think putting 17 housing units on here is essentially putting a small housing estate on to a rural site.

“There is one other problem with the site and that is the fact that it is in an unsustainable location.

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“It’s on the side of a major road and there is only one way in and one way out of the site, and that is in a motor vehicle – nobody’s going to walk and nobody’s going to cycle.”

Plans for Thrunton Brickworks.Plans for Thrunton Brickworks.
Plans for Thrunton Brickworks.

Despite the concerns, members of the panel voted 8-3 to approve the scheme, but requested plans to offer three properties under a shared ownership scheme be scrapped and the savings instead used to fund similar schemes elsewhere in the county.

Coun Gordon Castle said: “The sole reason we’re looking at this is because it’s a crumbling old brickworks.

“I know the area very well and there’s no way we would be agreeing to a settlement of this kind on a green field site in a very rural location.

“We’re only agreeing to it here because of the possibility it might fall down and become more of an eyesore than it is at the moment.”

James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service