New dental practice set to open after winning appeal - despite plans being turned down twice

Proposals for a dental practice – turned down twice by council planners – will now go ahead after applicants won an appeal.

Last year, ‘change of use’ proposals were lodged for 1 Windermere in Cleadon Village, off Front Street.

At the time, South Tyneside Council planners raised concerns about traffic congestion and parking problems in the area.

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Despite 20 letters of support from neighbours, the plans were turned down on the grounds of highway safety – with an appeal lodged.

Months later, amended plans were lodged for the site by applicant Cleadon Village Dental Practice – which were also knocked back over parking and congestion fears.

At this week’s Planning Committee at South Shields Town Hall, (May 20) councillors heard that the applicant won their original appeal.

A report by independent planning inspector, Mark Brooker, published last month, explained the reasons for the decision.

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While he admitted there would be an increase in demand for car parking from the plans, he said this would be “very limited and not have an unacceptable impact on highway safety.”

His report reads: “The council and a number of local residents have asserted that the area already suffers from traffic congestion and car parking problems.

“However I have no substantive evidence to show that there is no capacity to absorb the very limited potential increase in demand for car parking resulting from the proposed development.”

In his ruling, he said the dentist plans will not impact the character and appearance of the area.

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As the building can be accessed off Front Street –  a predominantly commercial area – he said the dentist would not create “unacceptable noise and disturbance impacts on the living conditions of nearby residents.”

Despite winning the appeal, the applicant called for the council to pay costs, claiming planners had acted “unreasonably resulting in unnecessary time and expense.”

However, this bid was knocked back by the planning inspector who said council officers were not at fault.

A report adds: “While I have allowed the appeal and granted planning permission for the change of use, I noted that very little car parking is provided within the appeal site and that this would not be sufficient to accommodate the demand for car parking that would inevitably be generated by the proposed use.

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“The parking team, which the council states are part of the Highway Authority, made comments in respect of the planning application referring to existing pressure on car parking in the area, this was further reiterated by numerous comments from local residents made in respect of the application.

“It was reasonable of the council to give weight to these comments in determining the application.”

Under approved plans, no more than two treatment rooms will be allowed at the new Cleadon dentist.

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service