The attention of members is drawn to application :

The well-wooded slope as at present

18/00644/TREECA | Trees in a Conservation Area. Fell: 4 Beech, 6 Holly, 2 Hawthorn, 5 Sycamore, 1 Ash, 5 Elm, 4 Laburnum, 1 Apple, 3 Lime. Pollard: T15 Ash at 10m, T21 Yew at 7m, T16 Yew at 5m, T17-18 Holly and T39-40 Yew at 4m. Crown raise: T32 Beech – remove 4 lowest branches. Sever ivy: T41 Sycamore. Sever ivy and crown reduce: T42 by 2-3m. Re-plant small trees and shrubs on flat ground (amended description) | Old Grammar School Hallgate Hexham NE46 1XD

This site is currently the well-wooded backdrop to the Wentworth car park, at the heart of Hexham Conservation Area, and a gateway to Hexham for many visitors. Those wishing to view the application should visit and enter the ref number 18/00644/TREECA

Alternately the case officer can be emailed via:

Case officer

The applicant’s proposed tree felling plan


Hexham Civic Society members will recall the long battle with developers McCarthy and Stone over the proposed ‘Tower of Mabel’ seven storey retirement scheme for the Old Baths Site on Gilesgate/Haugh lane. This is within the Hexham Conservation Area and Hexham Civic Society objected to the scale of the scheme, its massing, its impact on trees in the conservation area and the relocation of the present footpath to a tight ginnel with no overlooking.

In 2014, despite the concerns of the Council’s Conservation Staff, and Historic England, the Police Architectural Liaison Officer, and over 350 local objectors, the scheme was approved by NCC Planning Committee – reference 13/02289/ful.

In 2017, McCarthy and Stone pulled out of the scheme, citing geological problems. The site was again marketed by NCC who own the site.

One crumb of comfort for residents was the provision in the approved scheme of retention of trees to Gilesgate, the north of Gilesgate Court and a retention of the large sycamore to Haugh Lane. The montages below show retention as clear as day. The Committee Report present in 2014 was also unambiguous on this retention and read:

7.34 The trees on the embankment would be removed in their entirety. Whilst this would be regrettable, it is felt that due to the condition and health of the trees in question an appropriately implemented planting and landscaping scheme would add to the area in the medium to long term. One of the existing Haugh Lane frontage Sycamore trees would however be retained, as would a Hawthorn close to the northwest site boundary and the row of beech trees. The latter are currently at the rear of the Haugh Lane bungalows within the site but, with the proposed re-siting of the footpath through the site, would take on a more prominent position within the streetscene of the footpath link. The combination of the retention of some of the trees, together with a comprehensive replanting scheme would therefore provide a planned approach to maintaining tree cover within the area. In the short term, the retention of the frontage tree on to Haugh Lane, together with the group of trees on the opposite side of the road would mean that whilst longer views may be altered, they would not completely lose the presence of mature trees. As a foreground to the town centre behind the proposal would result in the evolution of the view, rather than complete revolutionary change. The proposal would accord with the provisions of Core Strategy Policy NE1 and Local Plan Policies GD2, NE33 and NE37”.

The approved 2013 scheme showing trees retained

Sadly on the 2nd March, despite Northumberland County Council having been alerted by concerned residents, and having met contractors on site, all trees were felled on the Haugh Lane slopes. We are unaware why contractors were allowed to continue in apparent contradiction of the approved scheme and the restrictions placed by the Decision Notice to 13/02289/ful.

The current owners of the site are believed to be ‘Hexham Hotels Ltd’, a newly formed company with a Gateshead office. Hexham Civic Society is aware of a current ‘Discharge of Conditions’ application for the site, showing the removal of the trees but not yet approved. We also understand that the works are entirely lacking in planning permission, as ‘pre-commencement’ conditions have not been fully discharged.

Site as of 2nd March with trees reduced to stumps

We urge members to make their views known re application 18/00365/DISCON | Discharge of conditions 3 (archaeology), 4 (foul/surface water), 8 (tree protection), 10 (construction method statement), 13 (dust), 15 (contamination 1) and 18 (mitigation report) relating to approved planning application 13/02289/FUL | Former Swimming Pool And Associated Land Gilesgate Hexham Northumberland NE46 3NP

The case officer can be emailed at

While it is too late for the trees on site, now reduced to chippings, we do not believe that the proposed landscaping scheme is acceptable and urge NCC to insist on replacement with extra-heavy standard trees, and the prosecution of the developers. We do not believe that ordinary householders would be given such free reign.

Hexham Civic Society is pleased to see additional publicity given to the cause of Hexham’s historic but unlisted former Workhouse by the campaigners at SAVE – an organisation dedicated to rescuing Britain’s ‘at risk’ historic buildings. HCS has over several years tried to promote the re-use of the former Hexham Hospital for creative new uses – in particular affordable residential – while rumours have circulated that the building owners may go for the demolition option (as supermarket chain Lidl hinted in 2017). We are hopeful that a local group of residents, assisted by Local elected members, and Northumberland County Council will press for a development scheme which retains the existing buildings and makes the now empty site a fitting gateway to the town centre.

The SAVE article can be viewed here.DCIM100MEDIADJI_0030.JPG

Hexham Civic Society is pleased to promote the numerous Tyndale buildings (and beyond) which are open over the next few days as part of the Heritage Open Days long-weekend 7th-10th September. They include the Allen Smelting Mill Tour –

Old Allendale Railway Station –

Forum Cinema Projecting Room Tours –

The Black Barn, Burncliffe –

Hexham Old Gaol –

Hexham Abbey –

and Hexham House of Correction –

All entries can be viewed here:

Hexham Civic Society’s Summer 2017 Newsletter will be dropping through the doors of members in the next week or so. News on the Workhouse complex, Gilesgate baths site, AGM reports and more. Please join us and help make Hexham a better place for residents, visitors and workers.

Our Autumn/Winter 2016 newsletter can now be downloaded for free here: Hexham Civic Society Newsletter Autumn Winter 2016 email version.

Hexham Market Place regeneration. Design idea one from Sustrans.

Hexham Market Place designs drawn up by Sustrans under an initiative supported by Hexham Town Council and Northumberland County Council will be displayed in Hexham this Saturday 24th and also on 1st July.

Hexham Civic Society has long campaigned for improvements to the Market Place although we recognise that finding a mutually agreeable solution is difficult, given the competing demands of parking, circulation, pedestrian use and

Hexham Market Place regeneration. Design idea two from Sustrans.

the role of the Market Place as a historic area in its own right and as the setting for our fabulous Hexham Abbey and other important listed  and historic buildings.

With twelve initial ideas now whittled down to 4, residents, workers and visitors can now have further say.

The proposals range from renovating the existing space to pedestrianising the whole area.

Design one is described as a renovation of

Hexham Market Place regeneration. Design idea three from Sustrans.

the Market Place and would involve the installation of ‘gateways’ that serve as entrances.

Moving the entrance to the Market Place car parking spaces to allow for improved access for visitors arriving from Hallgate via the Moot Hall, along with new crossing points, is also suggested.

The second design suggests rearranging the parking, reprioritising the junction and pedestrianising Hallstile Bank. Moving the car parking to the roadside is

Hexham Market Place regeneration. Design idea four from Sustrans.

also suggested to allow for a permanent market space and parking bays that would not need to be suspended on market days.

The third idea pedestrianises Hallstile Bank and Market Street but maintains Market Place parking.

And, finally, the fourth suggestion fully pedestrianises the Market Place and surrounding streets, leaving the town centre free for use during public events, but maintaining access and loading arrangements for homes and businesses.

Martin Podevyn, senior urban designer at Sustrans said: “We have listened to the residents and visitors of Hexham and captured as much information as we can on how people use the streets in and around the Market Place.

“We are thrilled at the amount of feedback that the website generated. There was some excellent dialogue and valuable information about the kinds of changes that people would like to see.”

The additional feedback gathered in the latest phase will be worked into the proposals over the coming months before a preferred design is drawn up and put to the public.

The plans can be viewed in detail on the project website at and designers will be attending market days in Hexham and hosting stalls on June 24 and July 1.

The Hexham Courant report on the scheme can be viewed here.



You are invited to our ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING on

Wednesday 17th May 2017 in Hexham Abbey Great Hall At 6.30pm

Followed shortly after by a talk given by
Jules Brown

of Historic England and NECT (North of England Civic Trust)

 “What a Character!”

Conservation Areas – What they are, what they do, and how they benefit Hexham

(Refreshments will be available!)