Huge gazebo to be built at Marsden Grotto as part of beach-side redevelopment
A giant gazebo is to be built on a landmark beach after a businessman won what he says was a nine-month planning battle.
The proposal by hotel and bar owner Terry Maughan to extend and remodel the terrace at the Marsden Grotto is for a wood, fibre glass and concrete gazebo with a 25sqm canopy - two thirds of which will protrude out onto Marsden Beach.
Existing concrete steps leading to the beach will be removed and replaced by a defensive wall, with new ones built side on to the tide, helping protect the Grotto from high seas.
Mr Maughan, 52, who has criticised South Tyneside Council for alleged delays in the planning process, expects work to be completed within a year.
But Mr Maughan, who bought the Grotto two years ago and has since turned its disused first floor into a 10-bed hotel, said: “I can now press on with my plans, which will be nice for the people of South Tyneside and for tourists.
“A condition of planning approval is that the work is done over the winter, but I would hope to have it completed by this time next year.”
Council chiefs defended the time it took to give the go-ahead, insisting the Grotto sits in an area of special scientific interest that requires protection from development.
They have also insisted the terrace is built by hand amid a warning the natural environment could otherwise be damaged.
A council spokeswoman said: “Given the sensitive location of this application, it was necessary to ask the applicant for additional information to assess the impact of the scheme on the protected coastline and wildlife in the area.
“The council was legally required to do this under the Habitats Regulations and has worked with the applicant to ensure the planning application was determined within the agreed timelines.”
A new perimeter wall will be constructed in stone blocks cemented together with an upper rendered surface, and painted white.
The octagonal gazebo will be six metres in diameter and detached from the Grotto, and positioned to cover the extended terrace and part of the existing terrace.