Road concerns for hotel plans

Plans to bring an empty pub/hotel in a north Northumberland village back into use have not been welcomed by all due to traffic and parking fears.

John Lee has applied to Northumberland County Council to change the Wheatsheaf Hotel in Wooler’s Market Place into a a 4,200 sq ft food-retail unit and 15 car parking spaces, with five affordable one and two-bedroom flats on the first floor.

The apartments will be let via Glendale Gateway Trust for people agedover 55.

But while the change of use from hotel/public house is permitted development and only the ground-floor extension and the works to provide the affordable housing require planning permission, it is the new use as a convenience store which has sparked concerns.

Wooler Parish Council has not objected to the scheme, as members were happy to see a ‘good proposal for the existing abandoned site’.

However, they did address specific issues relating to access into the site and possible problems with deliveries and access into the car park.

And neighbouring residents have expressed their fears about the effect the new development may have on traffic and parking in the middle of the village.

Edward McLintic, who lives about 150metres from the hotel in Ramsey’s Lane, contacted the Gazette to explain why was opposing ‘such an ill-conceived proposal’.

“I have lived here for nearly 70 years and have significant knowledge of the Wooler Market Place and its traffic problems,” he said.

“It is the junction of five roads, all of them busy at times, all bar one are on a fairly steep incline and two of them have very poor sight lines.

“On frequent occasions, I have witnessed pedestrians, including children from Glendale Middle School, having difficulty crossing over the existing wide junction. It is only by good fortune that serious accidents have not occurred up to now.

“The proposed development will bring even more pedestrians, traffic and delivery vehicles to an already busy junction, creating a potentially very dangerous situation.”

The county council’s transport team initially responded to the application calling for further details relating to parking and deliveries, etc, which has now been submitted.