Controversial Undercliff House site plans withdrawn

Architect Craig Fitzakerly and wife Caroline have withdrawn plans for a eco building at Undercliff.
Architect Craig Fitzakerly and wife Caroline have withdrawn plans for a eco building at Undercliff.

Plans to create a dream family home close to an historic home in South Tyneside have been put on hold.

Architect Craig Fitzakerly is hoping to one day create a one-storey family home into a hillside within the grounds of Undercliff House.

He also aims to restore the land in front of the Grade II-listed building in Cleadon to its former glory.

However, he withdrew his application with a view of possibly re-submitting it next year.

Mr Fitzakerly said: “The reason it was withdrawn was because the council asked for extra information in regards to a potential bat survey on site. But the bat season finished in August so I didn’t have time to gather the information they wanted. It opens again in May so at the moment we are just considering our options whether to re-submit the plans or sell it.

“If we had gone ahead with the meeting without the additional information then it would have been refused.”

The land was bought by Mr Fitzakerly, who owns Fitz Architects, two years ago but since announcing his plans he has been met with a number of objections from residents in the area.

Chairwoman of Undercliff Preservation Society, Sharon Döring said: “We were all absolutely thrilled that the plans have been withdrawn but also astonished that it was so last minute.

“There have been five previous attempts to build within Undercliff Hall by the previous owners of this plot of land, all of which have been refused.

“We are very passionate about protecting the setting of this unique building which we believe would be lost for future generations if the proposed development was given the go ahead.

“We were absolutely devastated when we learned a letter of support for the application had been submitted by Cleadon Historic Society, which had always been strongly opposed to development on our historic site, along with our three local newly elected ward councillors as they had not visited Undercliff to see what impact the proposed development would have.”