THE need to create jobs saw councillors approve a restaurant plan despite fundamental planning objections.
Moorgate Leisure Services has been granted planning permission to create a bar bistro at the Mayflower Glass factory unit, in Moor Lane, East Boldon.
Members of Sputh Tyneside borough planning committee decided the need to create employment was greater than the need to respect planning regulations.
The leisure scheme, which will include a bar, restaurant and function room, could create 42 full and part-time jobs.
Councillor Allan West said: “I don’t think I’ve seen such a level of support for such an application.
“We have a lot of young people who need work and it is an issue staring us in the face.”
Coun Ahmed Khan added: “To me, it’s an absolute no-brainer. These are difficult economic times and businesses are struggling.
“We have an application for a scheme which can create up to 29 full-time jobs. If we, as a council, had announced something which was creating 29 full-time jobs, it would be front page.”
The planning bid received high-profile support from business leaders, including Geoff Ford, chairman of Ford Aerospace and South Tyneside Manufacturing Forum.
But objections to the scheme were received from businesses and residents in the area, who raised concerns about potential noise and traffic problems.
Coun Jeff Milburn, Conservative member for Cleadon and East Boldon, was the sole planning committee member who voted against the restaurant scheme.
He said: “I do agree with the planners that this is industrial land and there are already sufficient licensed premises in the area.
“I am also concerned about traffic on Whitburn Road, which could be detrimental to the area – and Mayflower Glass is still in use.”
Although goods are still distributed from the East Boldon plant, its production facility was switched abroad several years ago.
Ian Lyle, speaking on behalf of Moorgate Leisure Services, said: “This scheme will deliver significant local investment.
“This is just one small unit, so it won’t change the character of the area and the unit has been on the market for two years.
“We believe the level of employment is significant, and the applicant already employs 100 people in the area.”
A report to councillors stressed the importance of protecting existing industrial sites in South Tyneside, stating: “This proposal is contrary to both local and national planning policy.”
But councillors voted 11 to one for the scheme, subject to appropriate planning conditions.