Petition opposing development plan

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Residents fear the appearance of their coastal town could be damaged if a new development goes ahead.

Hundreds of people in Newbiggin have signed a petition against proposals by Arch which would see the building of a new development to replace the New Dolphin and Railway Inn.

They claim the plan would destroy the town’s appearance and lead to the loss of an archaeological building.

Protesters have also criticised the consultation on the plans and are calling for a chance to have their say.

Arch, in partnership with the county council, has applied for planning permission for a new £1m three-storey building to house a range of council services and eight flats on the site.

Protester Derek Armstrong said: “Northumberland County Council is proposing to demolish an iconic building.

“The council propose to replace these two-storey buildings with a four-storey block of flats.

“A group of us, 500-plus, feel the design of the new building is grotesque and would totally ruin Front Street.”

A spokesman for Arch said: “We recognise the wide ranging views and we aim to consider these matters with the community.

“The Dolphin public house has been vacant and marketed for eight years with no interest.

“Arch, the Northumberland Development Company, in partnership with Northumberland County Council are to develop a new landmark building to contain the council’s library services, public conveniences, town council office and residential apartments.

“Statutory consultation will take place as part of the planning process, providing the opportunity for community comments.

“Consultation will take place as part of the planning process, as with all projects.

“With regard to the design, the intention is to create a building that is modern and takes account of existing but not replication of existing design.

“The design of the building is now subject to planning.

“We will review the design in the context of the submitted planning permission and any consultation will be part of this formal process.”