Let’s talk not fight over ‘right to light’

DISCUSSION PLEA ... from left, Ken Lynch, Olive Lynch, John Hall, Olive Fee and Jo Hall. Below, the planned development.
DISCUSSION PLEA ... from left, Ken Lynch, Olive Lynch, John Hall, Olive Fee and Jo Hall. Below, the planned development.

HOMEOWNERS campaigning for a ‘right to light’ are giving a housing developer one final chance to resolve a planning row – before they take legal action.

Members of South Tyneside Council’s planning committee last week gave the go-ahead for a three-storey, 18-apartment housing complex in Temple Park Road, South Shields.

The development – on the site of the former Denis Johnston Centre – is aimed at people over 55.

But residents living in bungalows 33 metres from the site say it will block their automatic right to sunlight and daylight.

The protesters are not against the development, but want it located further away from their homes.

Now they are ready to push ahead with hiring a specialist ‘right to light’ lawyer in a bid to stop it going ahead in its present form.

Before they take that step, however, they have appealed for the developer, Northumberland-based Bomarsund Housing Co-operative, to agree a compromise.

Despite leaving several messages on the company’s telephone answering machine, no return call has yet been made to John Hall, of Temple Park Road, who is leading the campaign on behalf of the residents.

Mr Hall said the offer of launching a discussion was being made in the “spirit of openness and co-operation”.

He added: “Regrettably no one from the organisation attended the planning meeting last Monday, which could have allowed us to, at least, develop a dialogue with representatives of the developer to see if we could accommodate each other, or reach some common ground.

“We can either reach an agreement or we will regrettably have to take further legal advice to see whether an injunction could be pursued through the courts, based on our current knowledge and understandings of the legal position.

“On the basis that discussion is better than opposition and legal struggle, we would like to ask the company to meet with us at our mutual convenience to discuss the situation.”

Mr Hall said that despite calls and e-mails he had yet to receive a response from the developer.

Approval for the new development – made up of one and two-bedroom apartments – comes at a time of a shortage in affordable smaller properties in the borough.

Gazette calls to Northumberland-based Bomarsund have also not been returned.

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul