Praise for conversion of derelict Alnwick building to Wetherspoon’s pub

Councillors at a site visit at Alnwick Corn Exchange last year.
Councillors at a site visit at Alnwick Corn Exchange last year.

Yesterday was hailed as a great day for Alnwick as plans to convert the former Alnwick Corn Exchange into a Wetherspoon’s pub were approved.

Members of Northumberland County Council’s north area committee last night gave unanimous support for the plans which will bring the empty building back into use and see a major investment in Alnwick.

The plans propose a bar and customer area downstairs, toilets on a mezzanine first floor and a beer garden and smoking area at the back of the Grade II-listed building.

Speaking at the meeting last night, Alistair Willis, for Wetherspoon’s, said the plans represented a £2.2million investment in Alnwick and will provide around 50 jobs.

Coun Trevor Thorne said: “This is a great day for Alnwick. We have finally found a modern-day use for this rotting, listed building. It has got a great history and I think the plans are quite sympathetic. Here we have what will become a busy eating establishment and it seems to have huge public support.”

Alnwick town and county councillor Gordon Castle said: “We need to do something with this building and this seems to be an appropriate development.”

The plans will also retain the historical features of the building, such as the beams inside.

The application saw an e-petition with 526 signatures in favour of the plans and a Gazette poll saw more than 1,000 people voting with 72 per cent in support.

However, there were also objections to the plans. John Thew, a resident of Green Batt, whose property is in close proximity to the development, raised concerns about noise from the beer garden and bins being placed close to his home. He added that if the beer garden was smaller he might be in support of the application.

Conditions were added to the approval which state that the pub can only open between 7am and 12.30am, Monday to Friday and Sunday, and 7am to 1.30am on a Saturday.

The development has to be completed within three years and other requirements also need to be met. Listed Building Consent for the development was also unanimously approved.