Victory for Water's Edge objectors as appeal over apartment development dismissed

Controversial plans to build an apartment complex at a coastal beauty spot have been dismissed by a Government planning inspector.

Friday, 10th January 2020, 10:41 am

Proposals to demolish the closed Water’s Edge pub at Trow Lea and build a 23-apartment development on the site provoked hundreds of objections,and the plans were rejected by South Tyneside Council in 2018.

Objectors were concerned the development would spoil coastal views and impact on wildlife, with council leader Iain Malcolm among those speaking out against the plans.

Pub owner Kevin Brogan appealed against the council’s decision to reject the plans, and a hearing was held by Planning Inspectorate in October 2019.

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The Water's Edge pub in South Shields
The Water's Edge pub in South Shields

Planning inspector Sarah Housden has now published her verdict, dismissing the appeal.

A decision report concluded that “heritage harm” would not be outweighed by the public benefits of the proposal.

It reads: “The proposed development would also cause material harm to the character and appearance of the undeveloped coast, in conflict with the policies in the development plan which seek to conserve and enhance its character as a high quality natural environment.

“Together, these issues weigh heavily against the appeal proposal.”

The Water's Edge

In her report, planning inspector Sarah Housden added there were no material reasons of “sufficient weight” to justify any other decision.

The ruling is the latest move in a planning saga stretching back to 2016 when plans for 21 apartments at the site were submitted and later withdrawn.

At the hearing at South Shields Town Hall last year for a 23-apartment scheme, council officers defended the planning committee’s reasons for refusal.

This included the visual impact of the apartments on the ‘undeveloped coast zone’ and grade II-listed Trow Rock Floating Platform, lack of affordable housing and wildlife fears.

Council leader Iain Malcolm

Appellant Kevin Brogan was represented by planning agent Dominic Waugh at the meeting, with experts stating the apartments would enhance the landscape and mark a divide between the pub site and National Trust land.

An offer was also made to reduce the impact of the apartments in a ‘‘section 106″ agreement alongside assurances over management and reducing potential light pollution.

After listening to evidence from both sides during the hearing, Sarah Housden published her final decision on Monday, January 6.

No costs were awarded to either party as part of the ruling.

South Tyneside Council leader Iain Malcolm welcomed the appeal decision.

“I’m pleased the appeal was dismissed,” he said.

“As I set out in my letter of objection to the planning application, I believe the proposed development was at odds with our, and the National Trust’s, vision for the foreshore.

“I had concerns about the development of this site as a 24-hour living environment, with the associated noise and light pollution, parking and traffic considerations.

“We recognise that this site needs developing, but this was not the solution.”

He added that, if the appeal was dismissed, he would explore the use of compulsory purchase powers to “deal with this eyesore once and for all.”

The appellant’s planning agent has been approached for comment.