Homes plan for Berwick waterworks given the green light

Plans to convert a historic building on a prime site overlooking the River Tweed into housing have been given the go-ahead.

Sunday, 29th July 2018, 3:28 pm
Updated Sunday, 29th July 2018, 3:32 pm
The former waterworks in Tweedmouth. Picture from Google

Northumbrian Water’s outline bid for 10 homes at its former waterworks on Dock Road in Tweedmouth had been recommended for approval at last Thursday’s meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council.

A number of councillors were unhappy about the lack of detail with it being an outline application, but it was given the nod by five votes to zero with four abstentions.

The redevelopment would see the existing depot building converted into six apartments across two floors, involving an extension to the rear of the building, while four two storey, semi-detached properties would be built to the south-east of the depot.

Assurances have been given that the development, if approved, would have no impact on the neighbouring Goodie Patchy woodland, which is subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

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Another concern was the parking, which has been amended to include one space per semi-detached property as well as a parking area for the flats.

Highways officer Graham Fairs said that this was less than desirable, but because of the width of Dock Road, where there are no restrictions and on-street parking is possible, he didn’t feel it warranted a reason for refusal.

Coun Georgina Hill, who earlier said she was ‘worried about mission creep’ due to it being in outline, said: “I can’t make any judgement on this until I have seen the detail. I will be abstaining.”

Coun Roderick Lawrie added: “I will also be abstaining because I’m very suspicious that this has gone this way.”

Berwick Town Council, St Boisil’s Residents’ Association and charity Woodland Education and Training (WET) had all expressed concerns over whether housing is the most appropriate use for the site.

WET is currently negotiating an asset transfer of the Goodie Patchy from Northumberland County Council to use it for educational purposes and says it has been ‘trying to negotiate with Northumbrian Water for seven years about the use of the waterworks site’.

But at the meeting, the agent Katherine Simpson said this proposal was a ‘valuable opportunity to bring a disused site back into use’.

The waterworks building was purpose-built in 1914 to replace an earlier building on the site.

For much of the 19th century, the application site was occupied by Tower Foundry, established around 1800 by John Robertson & Co.

There was a sandstone quarry to the rear, which provided materials for many of Berwick’s buildings.

BY Ben O’Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service