Work starts on homes on long-awaited site

A CGI of Thomas Percy Drive in Alnwick.
A CGI of Thomas Percy Drive in Alnwick.

Work has started this week on a £2.5million development of new homes in Alnwick on the site of a former school.

Thomas Percy Drive will provide 15 three and four-bedroom homes on the site of the former Thomas Percy RC School on Blakelaw Road, which was demolished after its pupils were relocated to St Paul’s on South Road.

Planning permission was granted by Northumberland County Council in December for the redevelopment of the 2.3-acre site.

Silverstone Building Consultancy won the contract to project-manage the scheme on behalf of Northumberland-based Lindisfarne Homes.

Newcastle-based Silverstone, a specialist firm of building surveyors and project managers, has appointed Gentoo Tolent Construction as main contractor and will now coordinate delivery of the project to ensure it is completed on time – expected to be November – and within budget.

Nick Dawe, director of Lindisfarne Homes, said: “We are delighted to announce the redevelopment of the Blakelaw Road site.

“Given the well-documented shortage of new homes throughout the North East, it is great news to have secured the go-ahead for this scheme.

“The new development will assist the county council by providing much-needed, sustainable, high-quality homes for the Alnwick area and breathe new life into the disused site.”

Lindisfarne Homes is also developing 40 holiday homes at Beadnell Point and Governor’s Garden – one to four-bedroom homes in Berwick.

Louise Stewart, associate director at Silverstone Building Consultancy, said: “We have been in discussions with Lindisfarne Homes regarding this project for some time now and we are delighted to see the development being brought forward.

“This will be our first project working with the developer and we are looking forward to seeing the scheme start to take shape on site over the next few months.”

The concept of building new homes on the site dates back to early 2009, ahead of the relocation of both St John’s and Thomas Percy RC Schools.

The schools became St Paul’s First and Middle Schools and opened on the former St Oswald’s site on South Road in September 2010.

In January 2009, the then Alnwick District Council’s planning department received applications from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, together with the Northumberland Estates, to pull down the two schools and replace them with housing.

The capital gained from selling the school sites was then to be used to fund the refurbishment and modernisation of the disused convent school, which most recently had been a private school and closed in September 2005 after pupil numbers dipped.

Both applications were subsequently approved, with this new scheme replacing a lapsed plan for 15 homes on the Thomas Percy site, while an application for 29 new homes on the St John’s site, off Lisburn Street, was renewed last year.

The aim at the time was to tie in the St John’s site scheme with the proposals for the neighbouring Willoughby’s Bank site, which, after going through a number of modifications and refusals, gained approval for 76 homes.