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South Shields Bistro plans on hold after committee raise concerns

The Workwear and Schoolwear store, in Dean Road
The Workwear and Schoolwear store, in Dean Road

Plans to transform a shop into a late night bistro have been put on hold over concerns about noise and disruption to nearby residents.

South Tyneside Council’s planning committee met to discuss a change of use application for the former Workwear and Schoolwear shop in Dean Road, South Shields.

The application by Browns Letting Agency is a £500,000 plan which includes subdividing the space into an estate agent office with a cafe bistro alongside with an external patio.

However the proposed bistro opening hours of 7.30am- 11pm, Monday to Saturday and 8am-11pm raised concerns from residents over noise, disruption and parking.

In a recent council consultation on the plans, 23 objections were received from 19 neighbouring properties with concerns about the changed opening hours, suggesting the proposal is for a bar rather than a cafe.

Other objections ranged from  noise disruption, cigarette smoke odour and parking to  loss of property value, business competition and lack of suitability to the area.

One objector, speaking at the meeting this week, said the proposed bistro is within “touching distance” of some residents and added an existing planning restriction requires a nearby car park to close at 6pm.

The objector added that the lack of parking in the area could see customers leaving their cars in Westoe village and other residential areas.

Several councillors commented on the plans at the South Shields Town Hall meeting, with Coun Wilf Flynn questioning the proposed kitchen ventilation system for the bistro.

“It would have to be in front of the building, I don’t think anywhere else would be acceptable,” he said.

Coun Anne Hetherington added there was no information about the ventilation system to inform a debate  and called for a motion to defer the decision on the bistro.

The motion to defer to provide further information was passed with seven votes for and five and the plans are set to return to a future meeting.

Commenting on the proposed bistro opening times, Coun Hetherington added: “If it is a family friendly place, I don’t understand the reason it’s open until 11pm.”

The existing planning application has no conditions relating to the consumption of alcohol from premises which is considered “unreasonable from a planning perspective,” a report states.

To sell alcohol, the applicant would have to apply for a licence from South Tyneside Council who could change opening hours or impose conditions that alcohol can only be served with food.

If the business attempted to run the premises as a pub or wine bar in future, further planning permission would be needed for Class A4 ‘Drinking Establishment’.

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service