New homes scheme at hall site to start soon

Felton Property & Investments director Stephen Cowell with one of the plan graphics for the Longhirst Hall scheme.
Felton Property & Investments director Stephen Cowell with one of the plan graphics for the Longhirst Hall scheme.

A project to create private housing at Longhirst Hall is progressing well, according to the owner of the site.

And Felton Property & Investments has revealed that demolition works are set to begin next month.

The original house, which was constructed by John Dobson for the Lawson family between 1824 and 1832 and served as a home for more than 100 years, will become four large dwellings.

Part of the former business centre that was used in the 1990s and 2000s by Northumbria University and the former Castle Morpeth Council will be knocked down and the remaining section will be converted into nine town houses.

In addition, the former hotel bedroom block will become 13 apartments. Landscaping works will be carried out in each section.

The majority of the site was a hotel and conferencing facility for a number of years and it also used to be a wedding venue. These buildings suddenly closed at the end of February last year because the tenant management company running it had ceased trading.

Felton Property & Investments director Stephen Cowell said: “We’re looking to start the demolition at the former business centre in April and we plan to begin the main contract build six to eight weeks later.

“There will be a marketing launch for the new homes and apartments, which will include plenty of visuals showing how they will look. This is likely to be in May.

“Since planning permission was granted in the autumn, we have been fine tuning the plans and raising the necessary finance.

“The critical aspect is making sure that we preserve the nature of Longhirst Hall, including the original house. As part of this, the spectacular grounds will be maintained.

“Our plans were acceptable to the county council’s listed buildings officer because the exterior of the original building will remain the same and all we need to do on the inside is block up corridors and install kitchens and bathrooms.

“There will also be a relatively easy conversion of the former bedroom block into two and three-bedroom apartments.

“The success of the Micklewood Park development in the grounds of Longhirst Hall helped us with the decision to go for a residential application.

“I’m pleased that after a year of intense activity, Longhirst Hall will soon be occupied again. I believe all the properties will be highly sought after because a location like this cannot be recreated.”

He added that at the same time, Micklewood House (it was converted into offices then a spa) will be turned back into a home with four bedrooms.