A bid to convert a prominent South Shields town centre building into flats has been rejected.
Council planner were concerned about parking problems at South Tyneside House, in Westoe Road, South Shields.
They have thrown out a proposal to turn the four-storey former council office block close to the town hall into a complex housing 32 apartments.
Planning chiefs say there is already considerable stress on parking in nearby terraced residential streets – and warned that the scheme would also impact on road safety.
Developers also faced objections from householders concerned about extra vehicle use in the area and fears of losing privacy by their homes being overlooked.
The property, which adjoins Westoe Road Baptist Church, was sold in April 2005 and is believed to have been empty since.
Whickham Place Property Ltd, which had made the application, could not be contacted for comment.
In its notice to refuse the company’s plan - which would have seen eight flats on each floor - South Tyneside Council said neighbouring streets were especially busy during the evenings.
Despite many of the adjoining streets being parking permit controlled, it said indiscriminate parking during the day was also a significant threat to the free flow of traffic.
The notice added: “The surrounding streets are already experiencing high parking demands that cannot fully be met.
“It is considered that the proposal would give rise to adverse highways and transportation impacts in that it would exacerbate existing on-street parking problems.
“The responses from the public and the consultees are clear that there are existing parking pressures and problems in the streets behind the site.
“And the responses consider that introducing housing at the site will make things worse than they currently are.
“It is considered the amount of residential units being proposed would result in a materially adverse parking demand and that cannot be reasonably accommodated.
“It is therefore considered that its parking demands will give rise to adverse highways and transportation impacts.”
Neighbouring highways include Berkley Street, Bolingbroke Street, Romilly Street and Salisbury Street.
Figures show there are around 120 parking spaces available, with 115 permits issued and a maximum of 128 available.