PLANS to turn a crumbling hotel into modern housing and shops have run into double trouble.
The Dale Hotel in the heart of Allendale in south-west Northumberland has stood empty for seven years and has had little work done to it since the 1960s.
With the structure decaying, owner Jon Champ’s original development plans a year ago met with a warm welcome – but were later withdrawn in a dispute over affordable housing ratios.
A month ago Mr Champ revised those plans and this time hoped to get a smooth passage for the conversion to a mix of town houses, maisonettes and houses with a possible retail or cafe outlet.
But the plans would mean the demolition of a stone cottage to the rear, which has now drawn an objection from a private landowner.
And the original alternative of removing one of the adjacent buildings in the row at the top of the market square has been stalled by the county conservation officer.
Allendale Parish Council agreed to support the latest redevelopment proposals “in principle” at its meeting on Wednesday. But vice-chairman Robert Philipson said: “The new entrance would mean demolishing a small stone cottage at the rear of the building and there has been a letter of objection to that from a resident.
“We have agreed to support the development in principle but have pointed out that there is a problem with access because it looked as if it went over a private road. The problem has also been that under the original plan they were going to demolish the building between the hotel and the King’s Head pub.
“The conservation officer has said no to that, but we don’t agree with that because it’s an ugly building not in keeping with the rest of the square. We have supported the new plans in principle, but it is now up to other people to get their heads together and work things out.”
Mr Champ, who lives abroad, ran into problems over the ratio of affordable housing on the site before withdrawing his original proposals last February. All sides want to see the decaying building revitalised, especially as the historic market square at Allendale is currently undergoing a long-term improvement plan.
The Dale Hotel closed in 2005 and was at first boarded up. The facade was gradually engulfed in overgrowing Virginia creeper and the building became a blot on the attractive outlook of the cobbled square. It is feared that if nothing is done soon, it could become a dangerous structure and have to face enforcement action.
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