THE long-neglected bunker site at the entrance to Hexham has finally been sold.

Newcastle-based developer Union Property Services has purchased the five-and-a-half acre site on Alemouth Road from Angus Charlton and Anita Charlton for an undisclosed sum.

Union Property Services director Raj Sehgal told the Courant that his company was in early discussions with Northumberland County Council, with a view to submitting a planning application some time next year.

“The site has obviously been vacant for nearly three decades, during which time it has not been brought forward for employment use,” he said. “Its location also makes it unsuitable for housing.

“However, there is an opportunity to deliver a carefully-considered scheme which includes further car parking for Hexham and supporting facilities such as a hotel.”

The final proposal would be subject to consultation with the local community, he added.

The sale of the site, which carried a ‘price on application’ tag, was brokered by property consultants Knight Frank.

One of its partners, James Platts, has previously acknowledged that while there were engineering and environmental constraints on the site, it was considered suitable for a range of uses, including retail, offices, industrial units or, indeed, a hotel with associated car parking.

For years now, Hexham Town Council has argued it would be the ideal location for a second town car park, with up to 400 parking bays.

Welcoming news of the sale, town and county councillor Derek Kennedy said: “That is a key site, so to hear that somebody is wanting to develop something that will be of community value, such as a hotel and car parking, has to be good news.

“Regarding a hotel, there is definitely a gap in the market and we have had several hotel chains supposedly coming here, but nothing has materialised. So hopefully this will be a positive step forward.”

The biggest challenge would be getting an access route into the site, he said.