Environmental campaigners have praised a council decision to block a three-storey seafront apartment complex being built in South Shields.
South Tyneside Council’s planning committee rejected plans for 23 luxury flats in Trow Lea over fears wildlife and coastal views could be affected.
The plans on the ex- Waters Edge pub site received more than 300 objections during a consultation – including opposition from council leader Iain Malcolm.
The North East branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has since welcomed the decision and hopes it will send a message to developers contemplating sites along the North East coast.
Chairman of CPRE North East, Richard Cowen, said: “We were a bit shocked when we saw the application and both delighted and relieved that South Tyneside Council rejected it – the proposal was totally out of character for a major recreational and wildlife area.
“As an organisation we fight against developments of this type all the time in a bid to protect and preserve the countryside for communities and the danger is that if one or two sneak through, it can open the floodgates.
“Developers always want to build on Green Belt and green belt land and build executive houses when they do because that brings most profit but I think there’s a growing awareness among communities that once the countryside is gone, it’s gone for good.”
The potential impact on wildlife areas was one of major reasons for rejection outlined by council officers due to sites of special scientific interest and conservation areas near the site.
Objections were also raised by the Durham Bird Club who cited potential impact on endangered species nesting at the nearby Trow Quarry and the preservation of environments for other birds along the coastline.
Mr Cowen added: “I applaud all those who objected – organisations and individuals – because the council listened and it shows that when opposition is organised it can be effective.
“Hopefully now this area will continue to be unspoiled and a beautiful stretch of landscape for people to visit and enjoy as they have done for generations.”
The CPRE is a registered charity aiming to protect and promote towns and countryside for future generations with a mixture of national and local campaigns.
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service