Luxury housing plans withdrawn after concerns development was ‘too urban’ for village

Churchwarden John Shield (right) with other Whitburn residents who think the plan to build town houses at the end of a quiet narrow lane is folly.

Churchwarden John Shield (right) with other Whitburn residents who think the plan to build town houses at the end of a quiet narrow lane is folly.

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PLANS for luxury homes in a leafy village have been withdrawn after a conservation group labelled the development “too urban”.

Boldon-based Stella Property Investments and Fitz Architects had proposed to build six contemporary executive town houses in Church Lane, next to Whitburn Parish Church.

Residents raised concerns saying the village was too small for such a development and that it would increase traffic congestion.

Now the application to South Tyneside Council has been withdrawn following the intervention of English Heritage, which said it was “out of character” in the conservation area.

A spokesman for Stella Property Investments confirmed the application had been withdrawn.

But Michael Orr, the company’s commercial director, said a new application was to be submitted.

And he said the objections from villagers and the report from English Heritage had “no bearing” on the decision.

In her report, Rosie Brady, of English Heritage, says: “Development on this site is long established and, as such, I have no objections to it in principle, but what form the new development takes will directly influence the extent to which it affects the significance of the conservation area.

“The proposal is a modern interpretation of terraced housing and whilst the buildings are of themselves an interesting design I am concerned that this urban building form is contrary to the historic characteristics of its surroundings.”

The move was today welcomed by church parishioners and villagers. Frank Turns, groundsman at Whitburn Cricket Ground, John Shield, church warden at Whitburn Parish Church, and Chris Storey, who owns the Red Cottage in Church Lane, said: “We’re over the moon. I believe the intervention of English Heritage was crucial. I contacted them with regard to a technical matter and they got involved and prepared an excellent report.”