New plan for extra apartment approved above Co-op store in former Grey Horse pub in Whitburn

New proposals for apartments above a planned Co-op store in Whitburn have been given the go-ahead by planning chiefs.

The ruling followed a planning meeting in November 2019 where concerns were initially raised about parking and access issues at the site.

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As a result, a range of transport improvements were secured including double yellow lines on Croftside Avenue, widening the A183 East Street junction and providing 21 car parking spaces to serve the development.

The former Grey Horse pub in WhitburnThe former Grey Horse pub in Whitburn
The former Grey Horse pub in Whitburn

South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee discussed a revised bid from developers to boost the number of self-contained flats from two to three.

According to a report prepared for councillors, visitors to the flats arriving by car “would need to find a space on street.”

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At the meeting on June 22, which was held virtually and broadcast on YouTube in line with social distancing guidelines, Coun Anne Hetherington raised concerns about parking.

This included the potential demand from the extra flat combined with the removal of existing off-street car parking adjacent to the site.

The councillor also called for clarity over a comment from the council’s parking team which claimed that the lack of on-site visitor parking space would not lead to a “significant overspill problem” in the area.

Planning officer Peter Cunningham, responding, said: “Each development has to find the right balance in terms of finding the right amount of car parking space.

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“Unfortunately this is deficient in terms of visitor parking but the deficiency is only with regard to one space.

“It isn’t physically possible to get another space on site and yes that is a deficiency of the scheme but on balance, we consider that any overspill would not be that significant.

“The reason why we say this is that these are not executive apartments where there is a high likelihood of multiple car users in the property.

“The flats are quite small and the third flat that is introduced has only got two bedrooms, the middle flat has got two bedrooms and the existing duplex flat has got three bedrooms.”

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The planning officer, recommending the apartment proposals for approval, added that parking standards in terms of existing residents had already been met.

Following discussion, the plans won unanimous support from the Planning Committee.

Coun Gladys Hobson added: “We need to consider that this is a convenience store rather than a full scale supermarket where people will be staying for a long time.

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“Co-op did open this type of store in a pub in my ward and there’s a quick turnaround of people and they tend to pop in for a few items and come out quickly.

“So the car park was never full as there were people moving around all the time.

“This is obviously a development which needs to take place, this pub has stood empty for some time [and] it’s not going to open as a pub again.

“So we need to be looking at some type of development to use for this building.”

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The Grey Horse is classed as a ‘locally significant heritage asset’ by South Tyneside Council with the building dating back to 1840.

Following its closure last year, the historic site was taken over by investment company Grey Horse Inn Ltd.

The original bid to convert the site into a convenience store and two apartments sparked opposition with more than 500 people signing a petition objecting to the loss of the pub.

Planning documents submitted in subsequent months have identified Co-op as the planned operator for the ground floor shop space.

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Planners have also confirmed works to the Grey Horse will not harm its heritage status.

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