Former Alnwick councillor in plea for more time on Schooner Hotel plans

A FORMER Northumberland councillor who moved to America after a series of rows has sparked fresh anger over plans for a county hotel.

the Schooner Hotel in Alnmouth, Northumberland

A FORMER Northumberland councillor who moved to America after a series of rows has sparked fresh anger over plans for a county hotel.

John Orde, a former Alnwick District and Alnmouth parish councillor and owner of part of the village’s Schooner Hotel, angered residents at Felton by building a garage at odds with a planning permission.

He came close to being booted off the district authority after failing to attend meetings for almost six months and eventually emigrated to America.

Mr Orde then resigned from the council after hitting out at colleagues for not doing enough for their community.

He has now applied to Northumberland County Council to extend the time limit of a planning approval he has to convert his part of the hotel into holiday apartments.

Mr Orde was originally refused permission for the scheme in 2007 by the Alnwick council. But in summer 2008, while living in America, he was given planning permission and listed building consent to create six apartments at the Northumberland Street site.

Now, Mr Orde has put in two applications seeking an extension of his permissions, which expire in the coming months.

The applications gives Mr Orde’s address as The Harbour Inn at Leazes Street in Amble, which he is said to own, and where Alnmouth Hotels Ltd is registered.

Last night, residents of Alnmouth said they had not objected to the various applications – despite calls for the property to instead be used for affordable housing – because they want to see the “derelict” site upgraded as soon as possible, claiming the former coaching inn is cherished within the village.

Parish council chairman Bill Bourne said: “We would like whatever development does occur on the Schooner site to be brought forward. It has been a semi-derelict site for really rather too long.”

The Journal attempted to contact Mr Orde to discuss the application, but he did not respond.

His agent Paul Taylor, of Blueprint Architects in Lesbury, Northumberland, said: “The current financial situation and the availability of funding” were reasons why the development had not proceeded.

He revealed the applications have been made as Mr Orde wants to keep the planning approval “active”.

In 2005, Mr Orde built a garage at his property in Felton that was at odds with his planning permission. Neighbours complained and the district council refused a retrospective action to keep it.

Mr Orde appealed against the refusal. However, his challenge was thrown out and he was ordered to demolish the garage. That October, councillors were due to consider Mr Orde’s position on the authority after he went almost six months without attending a meeting.

In early 2006, he emigrated to Greenwood in South Carolina, setting up restaurant Orde’s of England. That March, Mr Orde resigned from the district council, saying colleagues did not do enough for their community.

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