More than 100 objections to plans to turn part of Seaham's Terrace Green into car parking
Plans to turn part of Seaham’s seafront Terrace Green into new parking spaces have met with dozens of objections.
Durham County Council is planning changes to the North Terrace area as part of the Seaham Townscape Heritage Project.
The proposals involve widening the pavement on the west side of the road to create more room for cafes and restaurants by removing the existing parking spaces which would be replaced by creating new spaces at the south end of the Green, mirroring the existing spaces at the north end.
In a covering letter with the application, the council says paving in the area is badly damaged and widening the pavement will ‘allow businesses to expand upon the success of the café culture, creating a vibrant, attractive and user-friendly space’.
"During the COVID 19 pandemic, the need to expand the pavement width was further demonstrated,” it says and adds “The project will help to support and enable social distancing and at the same time allow the fully functioning of the retailers in this vicinity.”
A Heritage Statement accompanying the plan says: “The proposed car parking area to the south would encroach into the main green space and result in some loss. However, this would be minimal that would not be considered to devalue or weaken its visual amenity attributes.”
The authority is accepting views from the public via its online planning portal – and more than 120 objections have been received in the first week.
Graham Wood, Durham County Council’s economic development manager, said: “We are seeking planning approval for work as part of a scheme which seeks to deliver improvements to the public spaces around the North Terrace and Terrace Green areas of Seaham; in line with our Towns and Villages programme which aims to restore buildings and improve spaces to create attractive and interesting places for people to work, live and visit and through which we are investing £25m in the regeneration of communities across County Durham.
"The scheme is proposed as part of our Seaham Townscape Heritage Project which is using £1.6m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to make key spaces in the town centre as attractive and accessible as possible, and to make the most of their historic features.
"We consulted widely on schemes to be funded though the Heritage Project, including the work outlined in the current planning application, when putting in the Heritage Lottery bid, with feedback overwhelmingly positive. There is further opportunity for people to have their say on the current proposal through the ongoing planning process.
"The work seeks to create 22 parking bays to mitigate removal of bays from North Terrace to allow for the widening of the footway there; in order to enhance the existing café culture there for the benefit of those wishing to enjoy views of the coast and Terrace Green, and businesses.
"There would be a loss of a small area of green at either end of Terrace Green to facilitate this but the vast majority of the green will remain for residents and visitors to enjoy, and the whole area would remain available for hosting of events. We are also seeking to install new bike racks to allow more people to come to the area via sustainable transport.”