A FORMER hospital building is to be redeveloped.

Early-stage plans are afoot which could see Prudhoe Hall come back into usage.

RMI Architects has confirmed it is working alongside Northumberland County Council to develop proposals for the Grade II listed hall.

Gentoo Homes, which have a number of homes already on the site, are also involved in discussions.

A spokesperson said: "The joint visit with Northumberland County Council planning and conservation officers was to discuss proposals to refurbish the hall into residential apartments as part of the Cottier Grange development."

A Northumberland County Council spokesman said: "For commercial reasons, we are not able to give any details at this stage."

The early-stage proposals have been welcomed by a local councillor.

"Prudhoe Hall is an iconic building with a long history", said Northumberland County Councillor Gordon Stewart. "Many local people know it well and would like to see it brought back to life and sympathetically restored.

"I look forward to finding out additional information; I am in contact with the architects, NCC planning department and Gentoo homes."

The old hospital site, which had been derelict for around 13 years before building work started on the Cottier Grange development, was originally opened as a residential ‘colony’ for people with learning difficulties in 1914.

In 1948, it became part of the new National Health Service as Prudhoe Hospital, and by the 70s, it was the fifth-largest mental health hospital in the country, with nearly 1,000 staff and 1,500 patient beds.

A hall was formerly a family home and church.