Decision date set for Whitburn Lodge housing plans as proposals face strong opposition

The proposals have proven controversial
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Plans to demolish a fire-damaged former pub to make way for housing are set to go before councillors for decision next week.

Members of South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee will be asked to decide on the future of the former Whitburn Lodge site, off Mill Lane (A183), in the Whitburn area.

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Since closing its doors in 2012 the pub site has been the target of break-ins and deliberate fires, including an infamous fire on New Year’s Day.

The Whitburn Lodge pub after the 2023 fire. Photo by Ian McClelland MediaThe Whitburn Lodge pub after the 2023 fire. Photo by Ian McClelland Media
The Whitburn Lodge pub after the 2023 fire. Photo by Ian McClelland Media

In September, 2023, national housebuilder Lovell Partnerships announced it had bought the building and associated land, with plans to build 32 new homes.

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32 new homes are planned for the site of the Whitburn Lodge (Credit: Lovell Partnerships)32 new homes are planned for the site of the Whitburn Lodge (Credit: Lovell Partnerships)
32 new homes are planned for the site of the Whitburn Lodge (Credit: Lovell Partnerships)

The proposed housing mix includes four two-bedroom homes, 22 three-bedroom homes and six four-bedroom homes, along with a mix of private and visitor parking.

A council report states the homes classed as affordable would include a mix of ‘first homes’, discounted market sale and affordable rent.

The existing vehicular access off Mill Lane at the eastern side of the development is also expected to be widened, as well as multiple pedestrian access points being created.

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During a council consultation exercise on the plan, there have been a number of objections and a petition in objection with 92 signatures.

The Whitburn Lodge in June 2010.The Whitburn Lodge in June 2010.
The Whitburn Lodge in June 2010.

According to a council report, the petition states the majority of housing proposed in the scheme is “executive” and that there is “sufficient housing of this type in Whitburn Village”.

It was noted that “the Infrastructure is not in place to support this development” around GP and dentist appointments, traffic and sewerage, which was described by another objector as being “at breaking point”.

Concerns were also raised about the loss of the former pub building, which comprises the remains of Hope House dating from the 18th century, as well as concerns about tree loss and impacts on the Green Belt.

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A planning officer report prepared ahead of a decision-making meeting next week has recommended the housing plans for approval.

The council report notes that the application will “contribute to maximising the re-use of previously developed land in a built-up area and would contribute to the objective of delivering sustainable development”.

It was also noted that Whitburn Lodge is not a listed building or included on the council’s list of “locally significant heritage assets” and that following the recent fire, “the oldest part of the building is partially burnt down and roofless”.

The council report adds: “It is considered that on balance, it can be demonstrated that the proposal provides long-term benefits.

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“The proposed development of the site would contribute to the borough’s overall housing requirements, where the council has failed the housing delivery test and is unable to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply.

“It is considered that the proposals would deliver an appropriate mix of housing, including eight affordable housing units on-site.

“The natural environment and potential environmental impacts of the proposal would be acceptable subject to the suggested conditions.

“Furthermore, the proposals are acceptable in terms of noise, odour, contaminated land and climate change.

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“In respect of flood risk and drainage, subject to the recommended conditions, it is considered that the proposals would be acceptable”.

It was also noted that plans would be acceptable in terms of impact on the surrounding highway network and in terms of car and cycle parking provision, subject to recommended conditions.

The planning approval is subject to the completion of a legal agreement, a process which allows councils to secure financial contributions from developers to help mitigate the impact of developments.

In the case of the Whitburn Lodge site, financial contributions of around £29,400 are sought for ‘off-site biodiversity net gain’, as well as £12,896 to mitigate “recreational pressure and impacts” on protected nature sites.

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The final decision on the plans rests with members of the council’s Planning Committee, who will next meet on Monday, February 12.

The meeting starts at 10am at South Shields Town Hall and will be open to the public.

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