Pub could get special status after frozen food store conversion plans rejected

Controversial plans to convert a pub into a frozen food store have been rejected by councillors – with a proposal to give the boozer special status.

Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 6:59 pm
The Boldon Lad. Pic c/o Google Streetview

In recent months, proposals were submitted to transform The Boldon Lad, in Hedworth Lane, into a retail space.

This included changing the layout of the car park and building an acoustic fence around the rear and sides of the venue.

However, the plans sparked opposition from locals with a 240-signature petition formally submitted to South Tyneside Council.

On August 27, the authority’s Planning Committee agreed to reject the plans at South Shields Town Hall.

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At the meeting, an objector spoke on behalf of residents claiming the plans would impact existing facilities in the area.

This included the visual impact of the 2.1 metre high fencing, increased traffic, noise pollution and the potential impact on nearby traders.

Coun Geraldine Kilgour, launching a motion for the plans to be refused, noted the “strength of feeling” from residents.

The councillor mentioned the “demise” of other establishments in Jarrow including the Neon Social Club and Ex-Servicemens Club.

In this context, she said an idea could be explored in future around designating The Boldon Lad as an “asset of community value”.

According to papers submitted to council planners, the site’s intended use would be a store selling mainly frozen foods.

However, planning officers previously criticised applicant Punch Partnerships for failing to consider alternative town centre sites for the retail store.

This included a lack of “robust evidence” in a sequential test – a process which encourages a “town centre first approach to retail development.”

Despite changes to the scheme, planners maintained that the site clashed with several policies due to its “out-of-centre location.”

Following discussion, councillors backed a recommendation from planning officers to refuse the plans.

Coun Anne Hetherington added: “I think it’s very clear that the National Planning Policy Framework sets out the sequential test.

“The fact that this developer has conveniently decided to disregard the framework is testament to the fact that they’re not interested in the community at all.”

Applicant Punch Partnerships has a right to appeal the council decision.