Decision to reject flats being 'shoe-horned' into South Shields upheld by Government inspector following developer appeal

Controversial plans for a flats complex in South Shields have been turned down by a Government-appointed planning inspector.

Last year, South Tyneside Council’s planning department received an application for a property in Boldon Lane.

The proposed site included an undeveloped garden, close to the junction with Harton Lane, and the bid sought outline planning permission for a new building housing six double-bedroom flats.

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During consultation on the plans, a number of objections were received from Boldon Lane residents and West Harton Methodist Church – including concerns the development was being “shoe-horned” into the space.

Boldon Lane, South Shields
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The borough council’s roads department also raised concerns about “insufficient parking” on site, limited visibility for drivers exiting private driveways and potential traffic accidents, given the proximity of the access to a roundabout.

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After considering the application, the local authority’s planning department said the plans represented “overdevelopment” and refused the housing scheme in May this year, citing the “insufficient amount of on-site car parking space” proposed and the “restrictive nature” of the site which would result in a “sub-standard layout”.

According to council planning documents, permission for a four-bedroom house on the site was granted in 2014 – however this development was never brought forward.

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Although the council had moved to reject the latest plans, an appeal was submitted by developers before a refusal notice was officially issued.

Appeal documents confirm that the appeal was lodged on the basis of ‘non-determination’ and that the council failed to give notice of its decision within an “appropriate period”.

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After considering the appeal however, a government-appointed planning inspector dismissed it and upheld the council’s original refusal decision.

An appeal decision report published in September sets out the reasons for the ruling and the main issue in the appeal.

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This included whether the proposal could deliver a “sufficient number” of on-site parking spaces and allow vehicles to manoeuvre safely, as well as the effect on highway safety and nearby residents.

After considering the appeal application, the planning inspector said the planning proposal would “not be acceptable in principle”.

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The appeal decision report noted a “significant shortfall” in on-site car parking against the council’s standard, “limited capacity” to park vehicles on Boldon Lane and the “tight space available” on site for vehicles to move around.

Other points raised by the planning inspector included the “intensified” use of the site by vehicles, which would see “pedestrian and vehicular visibility unacceptably restricted to the detriment of highway safety”.

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The “limited distance” between the roundabout junction and indicative site access was also flagged as an issue that could lead to traffic collisions.

The appeal decision report adds: “Sufficient evidence has not been provided to demonstrate that the proposal would provide an acceptable number of on-site car parking spaces, that harm would not be caused to the free flow of traffic, that unacceptable harm would not be caused to highway safety and that the proposal would not lead to unacceptable on-street car parking pressures to the detriment of the living conditions of the occupiers of nearby dwellings.”

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The full appeal decision report can be found on the Planning Inspectorate’s website by searching appeal reference: APP/A4520/W/22/3298067

For more information on the planning application, visit South Tyneside Council’s online planning portal and search reference: ST/0912/21/OUT