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Shops and homes plan to get go-ahead, despite fears

BUILDING CONTROVERSY ... residents led by Janet Smith, front left, oppose the new building planned for Ocean Road.

BUILDING CONTROVERSY ... residents led by Janet Smith, front left, oppose the new building planned for Ocean Road.

A NEW residential and leisure complex is poised to get the go-ahead on a key site at the heart of South Shields.

Land next to Ocean Road Community Centre has stood unused since the town’s former congregational church was flattened in the 1990s.

Now planning permission is being sought for the construction of a three-storey building on the spot.

The proposal is to use the upper two floors for eight apartments and the lower floors for potential retail, restaurant and leisure use.

Next month, members of the council’s planning committee will be recommended to OK the plan, despite concerns among residents in nearby Pollard Street, Baring Street and James Mather Street.

They centre on a lack of parking and a belief that the new development would make matters worse.

Residents also insist the council had earlier said that the north side of Ocean Road would be retained for housing – with the south side for business use.

Views were also expressed that there were “already lots of existing restaurants and cafés nearby, and many vacant shop units in the area”.

Narrow access to the site during construction and concern over food rubbish in back lanes were among other issues raised.

But council officials see the development as essential to the regeneration of the area. A report to the committee says: “This important corner site has been vacant for many years, which exacerbates the physical separation of Ocean Road from the rest of the town centre.

“Regarding the concerns of neighbouring occupiers, the scheme has been amended so that delivery vehicles would be accommodated within the adjacent layby on Ocean Road, which it is considered would address many of the concerns raised regarding traffic and access.”

Members of the council’s planning committee are to meet at South Shields Town Hall on Monday, September 2, from 10am.

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul

 

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