South Shields flats plan in the balance

CONVERSION PLAN ...277 Laygate, South Shields.
CONVERSION PLAN ...277 Laygate, South Shields.

A FACT-finding visit for a proposed new flats complex in South Tyneside will decide whether councillors give the approval for the scheme.

Members of the council’s planning committee had been recommended to agree the application for the change of use of a property at 277 Laygate, South Shields, into a “house of multiple occupancy” when they met earlier this week.

They decided instead to defer a decision until they had paid a site visit to the application site.

The plan is to create seven bedrooms for the use of both students at South Shields Marine School and “professional people”.

The deferral comes after concerns were raised last year that part of South Shields town centre could become a “bedsit land”.

It led the planning committee at the time to reject a bid for 13 studio flats in Beach Road, over fears it could become a so-called “doss house”.

That decision came after claims were made that “houses of multiple occupancy” in the street were lowering the tone of the area.

However, due to the nature of the Laygate application, no residents in the area have raised objections to the plan.

A report to the committee says: “According to the information available to us, the rooms are to be let to Marine School students and professional people only, and not to such tenants that may cause disruption in the neighbourhood of the property itself.

“The community safety team is content with the proposed development.

“There have been no objections or representations in response to the neighbour consultation undertaken.

“The submitted plans demonstrate that the application is of a suitable size to accommodate the proposal that is being sought.

“The nearest larger licensed house in multiple occupation is located in Havelock Street, on the western side of Frederick Street, which is more than 230 metres away. The proposal would not therefore lead to an over-concentration of large houses in multiple occupation within its locale.”

The application is expected to now come back before the council’s planning committee at its next meeting on Monday, September 29, from 10am. Members of the public can attend.