Child safety fears over controversial new housing plan

The new homes site on Black Road, Hebburn
The new homes site on Black Road, Hebburn

Children could be put at increased risk of road danger after planning chiefs defied concerned local councillors to pass a controversial house-build plan near a South Tyneside school.

The go-ahead has been given for four new homes on a corner plot just 100m from St Oswald’s CE Primary, in Hebburn.

All three Hebburn North ward councillors united to warn against the project, which they claim could have worrying safety implications.

These include a direct threat to pupils as they cross roads on the way to and from school.

Coun Richard Porthouse, Coun Adam Ellison and Coun Liz McHugh fear the homes will reduce visibility for drivers turning on to St Oswald’s Road, where the school is.

They also say planned fencing, as well as any vehicles parked outside, could block visibility - increasing the risk of accidents.

In written pleas to South Tyneside Council planners, they warn the area, including High Lane Row, already has road safety issues.

However, they were overruled at a meeting of the council’s planning committee yesterday.

Afterwards, Coun Porthouse said: “This is a safety issue. We are not against these houses being built, although perhaps two would have been better.

“We do think there’s going to be a big impact on that corner where there is a school and a church. There’s a school crossing on that corner, and any more cars will impact on that.”

The councillors also contend driveways will directly impact on existing traffic calming measures, and on the school crossing patrol.

In response, council road chiefs insist the development is safe.

They say the proposal has been amended so that parts of two driveways will no longer overhang onto the road.

And no-waiting restrictions will be maintained to ensure roads are kept free of parked cars.

Driveways will also be kept clear of existing traffic calming measures and be far enough from school crossing patrols.

The development is planned for vacant land, part of which was a pigeon coop and part an undeveloped private grassed area.

It will face Black Road and High Lane Row and back onto St Oswald’s Church, with each property having space for two parked cars.

Planners received four letters of support from residents, who said the plot was an eyesore and prone to vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

An emended planning application allows for the council to adapt land that will ensure sufficient forward visibility for drivers using the St Oswald’s Road junction.

Permission had previously been granted for a two-storey detached house.

No-one from St Oswald’s RC Primary School was available for comment.