Residents living in a Grade II listed hall hope they’ve seen off their final planning battle by developers.
Plans were submitted earlier this year for a large-scale, eco-friendly, single-storey family home to be built on the site of the former ornamental gardens of the 18th Century Undercliff Hall in Cleadon Village.
It’s the fifth time applications have been submitted to South Tyneside Council to build on the land since the Undercliff Preservation Society was formed 40 years ago.
Many members are residents who live in the hall and, collectively, they own eight of the 10 acres of land surrounding the building.
The former ornamental gardens, which makes up the remaining two acres is owned by local architect Craig Fitzakerly who submitted the latest plans.
Earlier this month plans were withdrawn by Mr Fitzakerly. He said this was due to a bat survey being not being carried out because the season had ended.
We’re very passionate about protecting the setting.Sharon Doring
He said: “We will be resubmitting the planning application in summer 2017, with the new bat survey, unless we decide to sell before then.”
The society’s chairwoman Sharon Döring believes the scheme would have not been given the go-ahead.
She said: “There have been five attempts to build in the grounds Undercliff Hall by the previous owners of this plot of land. All been refused, two of them at appeal level.
“The planning consultant acting on behalf of Undercliff Preservation Society highlighted the contents of the council officer’s report that, linked to the previous refusals, the plan would materially prejudice any future application on the site.”
Before it was withdrawn the application was recommended to be refused for a number of reasons including that the new build would be an inappropriate development on a green belt setting, would cause significant harm to the setting of Undercliff Hall and it would also have an impact on the creatures living in the hall’s pond which is a designated local wildlife site.
Ms Döring, who lives in one of the Hall’s three homes, said: “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’re hoping that this will be the last time applications will be submitted to develop the land as the report has been so damming it would put a stop to any future bids.
“The society has been going for around 40 years now and it will continue to protect the land.”