Plans to build luxury flats on site of a closed down South Shields pub have been rejected over concerns seafront views and wildlife could be affected.
The Waters Edge Pub – at Trow Lea – faced being bulldozed to make way for a three-storey, 23-apartment complex with separate garage blocks and parking.
During a South Tyneside Council consultation, more than 300 objections were submitted voicing concerns about impacts on neighbouring wildlife zones.
While some welcomed the idea of more housing in the town, others said it would spoil coastal views and pave the way for other developers to build on the seafront.
Today, councillors backed officers’ recommendations to reject the plans – the latest move in a planning saga stretching back to 2015.
Objector Tracy Office argued the plans were an “overdevelopment” of the site and the designs “out of character with the coastline”.
She said: “People will feel like they’re looking at someone’s house rather than the views.”
Objector Linda Tuffield also told the committee construction work could affect nesting birds with 103 species in the area.
Plans were originally lodged by pub owner Kevin Brogan for 21 two-bedroom apartments but were withdrawn in February 2016 – days before a potential decision by councillors.
The amended plans recieved criticism from council officers over their “excessive” height and the lack of affordable housing provided.
South Tyneside Council leader, Coun Iain Malcolm, also objected to the flats saying they would clash with the council and National Trust’s “vision” for the foreshore area – which includes boosting tourism.
Agent Dominic Waugh said he was “surprised” to see landscape and character given as a reason for rejection with the plans being “more uniform in appearance” and “befitting of a seaside location” than the current site.
On ecology, he said a habitat assessment report had been submitted and that the applicant had agreed to pay to mitigate impacts on wildlife.
The agent added a deal for extra affordable housing was “always on the table” but was unable to be completed before the meeting due to council delays.
Coun Anne Hetherington called for the plans to be rejected stating councillors were “custodians” of the coastal zone’s “unique, fragile environment”.
Coun Gladys Hobson added the area was a “jewel in the crown” and the “envy of other coastal authorities in the area” due to its focus on leisure and tourism.
Mr Waugh and Mr Brogan were unavailable for comment.
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service