Civic Society members can look forward to our Spring 2019 newsletter – through your doors imminently. Featuring our Shop Front Design Awards, the Bunker site proposal and the Workhouse site.


We are pleased to announce that the HCS 2019 AGM will take place 19:00 on Wednesday 12th June in the Great Hall, Hexham Abbey – All welcome

The short AGM will be followed at 19:30 by a talk ‘Great Expectations’ by incoming Mayor of Hexham Mr Bob Hull

Please note we have Committee vacancies for Treasurer and Secretary so if you wish to stand for either post please make yourself known.

We hope to see members old and new, and other interested persons!

Hexham Civic Society is pleased to announce the three joint winners of its “Shop Front Design Awards”.

The winners are:

  • The Beaumont Hotel, Beaumont Street – for its sensitive replacement of the previous ground floor frontage, enlivening the street and adding a real asset to Hexham;
  • Matthias Winter on Hallstile Bank – an understated and sophisticated shop front for a welcome new enterprise; and
  • Sarah Loveland Photography, Battle Hill – for its positive contribution to the Battle Hill offer and its commitment to the conservation of its host building.

Qualifying buildings had their works completed in the last two years. We encourage all businesses – existing and proposed – to review the Northumberland County Council shop front design guide, which is based on that prepared by HCS and Tynedale District Council in 1990s

The Hexham Courant covers the awards in this week’s issue.


Image Copyright Hexham Courant


Hexham Birdseye Corner 2 montgage A.jpeg (1)Hexham Workhouse development exhibition on 6 March

Hexham Civic Society has worked for over a decade to encourage the sympathetic redevelopment of the former Workhouse and the adjacent car park. The buildings are unlisted but form a key part of the Hexham Conservation Area and are highly visible. Our efforts included frequent communication with the site owners, local elected representatives, the police and fire service, and engagement with Urban Design students at Newcastle University (over several years) to use their creativity to highlight the potential of this unique site.  We are therefore extremely pleased to announce that site owners HMC Group and McCarthy and Stone intend to bring forward a scheme based on substantial retention and conversion of the buildings. We urge HCS members to attend this consultation event and make their views known. We hope that an application follows very shortly.

The press release for the event reads as follows:

“McCarthy & Stone and HMC Group are in the early stages of drawing up proposals for high quality retirement living accommodation, houses and apartments in Hexham. HMC Group plan to develop the old Hexham Workhouse by refurbishing five flats, converting and extending 27 two and three-bedroom apartments and building two houses. McCarthy & Stone plan to redevelop the adjacent carpark into retirement living accommodation for the over 60s.

As part of their commitment to community engagement, HMC Group and McCarthy and Stone have arranged a public exhibition to display our proposals to local residents. 

The exhibition will take place on: 

Wednesday 6 March 2019, 3-7pm at the Torch Centre, Corbridge Road, Hexham NE46 1QS 

The aim of the exhibition is to provide details about the scheme to the community, and members of the project team will be on hand to answer any questions. The exhibition also provides us with the opportunity to receive your feedback which, where possible, will be fed into the final plans prior to the submission of a full planning application”


18_04200_FUL-PROPOSED_STREETSCAPES_REV_B-1246902-page-001Hexham Civic Society has made the following constructive objection to the proposed 7-storey Hexham Hotels Ltd apartments proposal for Gilesgate. Those wishing to make their own representations can do so via the County Council website here or by contacting the case officer at

Our 7th January representation reads as follows:

Planning Application 18/04200/FUL
Part demolition of existing buildings on the application site (retention of the existing stone facade to the former swimming pool fronting onto Gilesgate) and the erection of 46no residential apartments with associated communal facilities, landscaping, car parking and diversion of Public Right of Way through the application site. Former Swimming Pool and Associated Land Gilesgate Hexham Northumberland NE46 3NP
Dear Sir/Madam,
We note the application 18/04200/FUL for the part demolition and redevelopment of the former Gilesgate Baths site. Whilst we welcome the general spirit of the proposal, we are unable to offer it outright support due to a number of outstanding concerns which means that we must object to the application in its current form. We are mindful of the extreme sensitivity of the site – being within the Hexham Conservation Area and affecting the setting of several high-grade listed buildings, including internationally significant Grade I listings.
We would welcome consideration of our points as set out below and would like to see a scheme which we could offer unconditional support to.
Our concerns reflect those set out on page 22 of the applicants Design and Access  statement, which refers to their pre-application meetings with representatives of Hexham Civic Society in August 2018.
The applicant summarised these as:
• The interface between the Gilesgate retained façade and the mansard of the new-build is awkward and requires a better resolution.
• Concerns with the height and massing of the proposal, which could be better if it could be broken up and “tumble down” onto Haugh Lane.
• The massing of the described above leads to a “cliff face” on Haugh Lane which might be better resolved were the massing and articulation to change.
Our comments on the revised scheme:
Gilesgate Elevation
We note the reduction in height of x1 storey and agree that generally the Market Street building height is probably acceptable – we would have preferred retention of the shouldering of the higher section by lower portions.
We welcome the use of the top of the retained blocked carriage entrance for outdoor seating (behind the glazed screens)

We have concerns over the opening up as proposed, of a gap between Gilesgate Court and the scheme and would encourage greater thought on this. The existing glazed entrance to the baths is of no great merit, but is cut into the stone quoins of the 1980s Gilesgate Court scheme. No clarification is given as to how this hitherto landlocked western gable of the Court will be treated, how the quoins will be repaired and how this newly exposed side elevation – never designed to be seen – will impact on the Conservation Area. We feel strongly that it is a mistake to create a gap in the frontage as proposed and feel that the continuous frontage typical of historic streets in Hexham ought to be retained. Some private open space behind an abutting section could be retained – as per the 2013 scheme. The creation of open space to the fore will we feel create a little used, over exposed area which also exposes the gable of Gilesgate Court – a detail not shown in the present plans.

We retain our concerns re the proposed stone-clad gable set behind the retained Henry Bell façade. As per our August advice to the applicant, it would be better to return the mansard roof along this southern gable, perhaps hipping back where the existing slate baths roof runs back into the new-build. The stone gable as drawn is unduly prominent and a mansard treatment would be more visually recessive.
Hexham Community Centre has objected to the loss of light arising from the proximity of the western gable abutting the footpath. We share this concern and offer a suggested solution below.
Haugh Lane Elevation
While the height has been reduced by x1 storey, we still feel that the overall height here is unacceptable in its impacts on the Conservation Area. The pre-application version showed excessive height, but welcome shouldering which helped to reduce the perceived mass. The omission of the shouldering now that a storey has been dropped, results in poorer elevations.
The archaeological work ongoing on the site has added to the knowledge of the site and its significance – as highlighted by Dr J Chapman in 2008, the site straddles Hexham’s probable defensive wall. Several; sections of the wall are probably medieval in origin, with areas of further buildings and cobbled surfaces now exposed. We feel very strongly that these unique features should not simply be recorded and destroyed, and feel that the design of the scheme should be adjusted to accommodate some of these irreplaceably and highly significant features. We feel that there is potential to retain the medieval wall that forms the base of the present baths, and to retain the structures that fall near the proposed footpath. The rectangular room footprints now exposed could be incorporated into platforms for the steps as they make their ascent.
To facilitate the above, we suggest a stepping away by x1 bay from the Community Centre (addressing their objection re loss of light). As previously suggested, we feel that this accommodation could be relocated within the site – in particular by creating a block which abutted the Barnado’s building. At present this area – currently x2 bungalows – is proposed to be fully opened up with a very large retaining wall its main feature. A 3-4 storey mass, relocated here, with undercroft parking, could help offset a modification of the western side of the building.
We reiterate our strong concerns over the loss of mature trees, contrary to the 2013 approval, and request a row of suitably scaled trees (i.e. large fastigiate or columnar) on the Haugh Lane elevation.
The proposal at present fails to preserve or enhance the Conservation Area, or the setting of listed buildings, and approval of the scheme as presently drawn would be contrary to the duties set out in Sections 66 and 72 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
Public Right of Way
The scheme assumes the removal and re-routing of the Public Right of Way running across the site.
We would point out that any approval of this scheme would be subject to a completely separate agreement on the Public Right of Way
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As you may have heard, Hexham Town Council and Northumberland County Council are now consulting the public on x2 options for public realm improvements to Hexham Market Place.

HCS believes that it is extremely important that we grasp this opportunity to bring some physical improvements to the Market Place, which has not seen investment for decades.
We urge you all to make your views known. The two options are pictured below.

Please follow the link here to vote.

option 1 184914194option 2 184914258_jpg_gallery

Hexham’s Bunker site, the land between Tesco and the railway line, is out for public consultation, with a proposal for a new supermarket, hotel and public car parking.

You can meet the developer’s agent at the public consultation on
Thursday 29 November
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Queens Hall, Beaumont Street, Hexham