Regeneration of bulldozed sites gets under way

Diggers at work clearing the old Thomas Percy school site in Alnwick.
Diggers at work clearing the old Thomas Percy school site in Alnwick.

Encouraging signs of regeneration are now apparent in Alnwick, according to its county councillor, following a series of high-profile demolition jobs over the last year.

Work has begun to lay new infrastructure at the former Thomas Percy Middle School on Blakelaw Road, which was bulldozed earlier this year to make way for a new housing development by Northumberland Estates.

And the diggers have also moved in at a second school site, St John’s, on Lisburn Terrace, again to prepare for housing.

Both schools, which are Roman Catholic voluntary-aided, merged and transferred in September 2010 to what was the vacant St Oswald’s School premises on South Road, under a new banner of St Paul’s.

Coun Gordon Castle has welcomed the start of works, but has also urged movement on a number of other derelict sites in the town.

“The start of works at Thomas Percy and St John’s are an encouraging sign of confidence in the town’s future,” he said.

“There is a concern that if sites such as this are left vacant for long periods of time, that they will detract from the rest of Alnwick as a historic market town.

“There are a number of sites which remain problematic, such as Bolam’s Mill and The Maltings on Dispensary Street, and it is a shame that they have been allowed to stall and deteriorate.

“We would all very much like to see that development completed, as it is in a very prominent town centre location.”

Two further sites which have been cleared in recent months include the old bus depot on Lisburn Terrace, which now has a high wooden fence around it, and the former Willis of Alnwick garage on South Road, which has been bought by Northumberland Estates.