Block-up bid is ... blocked

A BID to block up a business’ conservatory has been opposed by town councillors.

An application has been submitted to Northumberland County Council to demolish the first floor conservatory at the back of the Aruba premises in Morpeth Market Place and replace it with a traditional flat-roofed extension.

The premises are expected to be taken over by Pizza Express and the extension would be used as a wash-up area.

However, concerns have been raised by Morpeth Town Council’s Planning and Transport Committee that the alterations would make the neighbouring alleyway darker, putting people off using it, and hampering nearby businesses.

Coun Nic Best said: “This is going to be a wall so it is effectively extending the alleyway.

“There have previously been applications to open this area for more shops — Boulevards is one, there is a small shop selling cards there now and a beer garden for the pub. There are five or six shops along there so it is beginning to turn into another shopping centre, which we wouldn’t want to risk losing.

“This is out of character with what that alleyway and the road along the back of Newgate Street is turning into, which is a secondary shopping front, rather than the rear of shops.

“The alleyway is also an important link between the bus station and the Market Place.”

Members voted two to one to oppose the plans, with one abstention.

Pizza Express was unavailable for comment.