A planning application which seeks to tackle the growing shortage of retirement living facilities in Alnwick while creating more green space for public use and preserving an historic building, has now been submitted by developers Northumberland Estates.
The scheme, which is for the former Duke’s School site, has been amended from its original format following the public consultation last August.
The new proposals seek to address many of the concerns raised at consultation, one being the size of the scheme. This has been reduced by some 14 per cent and the revised application would now see the former school buildings converted into 27 apartments. The retirement apartments block has been significantly reduced from three to two storeys, with the outward appearance to complement the Victorian style of the historic building. In addition a mix of 22 bungalows and houses, including affordable, would be located in the grounds.
The revised plans will also see the school grounds opened up for public access and the green space extended. Extensive landscaping and open space, tree planting and the creation of a wild flower meadow are planned to enhance the 4.5 acres of open space, all of which will be linked to the town and to Swansfield Park through a network of new footpaths This would provide a major benefit for the town as a whole, by greatly increasing the amount of open parkland within the locality.
Says Guy Munden, Development Planner with Northumberland Estates, “The public consultation revealed great affection of the Duke’s school and real desire by people in the town to see the site renovated and the buildings brought back to life. Another high priority was the provision of more green space for town residents to enjoy. We believe this scheme can deliver both. We have also taken into account comments in relation to design and scale and this has resulted in a smaller scheme of high quality.
“The statistics prove an overwhelming need for retirement living accommodation in the town and area with existing facilities full to capacity and with extensive waiting lists. This is a situation which can only get worse, leaving families with difficult decisions to make and long distances to travel to visit elderly relatives. This scheme looks to address this need and bring an historic building back to life with real purpose. The planned landscaping and planting will improve biodiversity through the planting mix while opening the grounds and surrounding green space to the wider public, residents and visitors alike.”