Residents ‘let down’ by planning decision

PLANNING ROW ... the house in Westoe Road, South Shields, which is to become an accountant's office.
PLANNING ROW ... the house in Westoe Road, South Shields, which is to become an accountant's office.

RESIDENTS in a historic South Tyneside street say they feel let down after approval was granted for a commercial company to move into their neighbourhood.

Rider Accounting Limited, currently trading on a single floor in Stanhope Road, South Shields, has been given permission to relocate into the heart of the town’s Westoe Road.

The council’s planning committee approved the transfer into a two-storey four-bedroom property.

The move comes despite objections from residents, who expressed concerns that putting a business in a predominantly residential setting was “inappropriate”.

They also said staff parking would result in an increase in traffic congestion problems in the area.

A report to the committee acknowledged that “offices are by definition not compatible with residential uses”.

But it concluded that “the nature of this particular office use is such that the level of comings and goings would be very limited, and insufficient to create an unreasonable disturbance or loss of privacy at adjacent residential properties”.

Opposition to the application at the property, which was once the site of the Westoe Book Store, has galvanised people living in the street, and a residents’ association has now been formed.

A spokeswoman for the residents claimed the council had not provided sufficient notice of the application, or information about its scale.

She said: “Our residents group is now up and running and it has the support of the Neighbourhood Policing Team and our MP, Emma Lewell-Buck.

“The residents were all unanimous that 212 Westoe Road should be retained as a dwelling house, but we don’t feel our concerns were given any real consideration at the meeting.

“A member recommended its approval and another seconded it. That was it.

“There are so many empty business premises in South Tyneside – why locate this at the heart of a residential street?”

Opposition to the plan had also come from the South Shields branch of the Royal Air Forces Association, in Dean Road, South Shields.

A spokesman for the organisation said: “The top end of Westoe Road is a designated residential area. How can you then grant planning permission for a business?

“One problem is parking facilities. Some residents can’t park their cars because strangers are parking outside their homes.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul