Residents gear up for fight against Undercliff House development plans
An architect's plan to build on land close to a historic South Tyneside building has hit a nerve with residents.
Colin Lemon fears the overall look of the area which sits within the estate of Undercliff House will be destroyed if buildings designer Carl Fitzakerly gets the go ahead from planning chiefs.
The architect hopes to build a one-storey family home into a hillside and restore the land in front of the Grade II-listed building in Cleadon to its former glory.
However, Mr Lemon, who has lived in Cleadon all his life, says he believes the environment will be heavily affected by any building work carried out on the land and by allowing the plans to go ahead it could set a precedent for other areas of greenbelt land to be built on.
Mr Lemon said: “There is a lot of wildlife already living in this area and as far as we are aware he is proposing to cut down trees to make way for this home.
“For two years he has had this land and it’s like he has let it go to rack and ruin.
“He has two years planning this. We only knew about it when we saw the notices going up.
“There is a lot of historic association with this home and it will be lost if this is allowed to go ahead.
“We want people to take notice of what is happening and to write to the council to object to the plans before it’s too late. Once the land is gone, it’s gone.
“We want to protect the land and are doing everything we can to fight these plans.
“We wish Mr Fitzakerly all the best with his plans for his new home – but not here.”
Mr Lemon claims planning permission on the land has been refused five time previously and hopes for a similar outcome, later this month when it goes before planning chiefs.
He added: “People are willing to buy the land to preserve it, tidy it up and turn it back into the natural woodland it was but we haven’t been given that chance. The land was sold without any of the residents knowing about it.”
The land was bought by Mr Fitzakerly, who owns Fitz Architects, two years ago.
He said: “I have had three ecologists out and two bat surveys carried out. There are no bats in the stables which is the only structure being demolished and none in the trees.
“What I am proposing will enhance the historic site.”
Comments on the application ST/0430/16/FUL can be sent to [email protected]