Cafe, restaurant or shop among potential uses after new business space approved for Seaham

Proposals for a new business space in Seaham have been given the green light by council planners.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 7:15 pm

Earlier in 2020, plans were lodged with Durham County Council for 11 North Terrace, which sits off a major route into the coastal town.

This included converting the ground floor from a residential use into a business space with several options for development.

The planning use, which will be decided by a future tenant, could include either retail, professional services or a restaurant/cafe.

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11 North Terrace, Seaham Picture: Google (2018)

Following consultation, Durham County Council’s planning department approved the planning application on March 1, 2021.

As part of the revamp, a new shop front and a single-storey extension to the rear of the building are planned.

A council decision report reads: “Beginning with the proposed change of use there would be no concerns in this respect as the residential ground floor sits within an otherwise continuous mixed use commercial streetscape.

“The proposed new use would be in accordance with other active uses along North Terrace and support the areas viability and vitality, while offering an opportunity to aesthetically make a positive change given that the current domestic frontage has little aesthetic merit.”

Under planning guidance, applications for sites outside of town centre boundaries normally require a ‘sequential assessment’ from the applicant to demonstrate that other more central town centre sites have been considered.

Although North Terrace is located outside the town centre boundary, planners said the plans were acceptable.

A council report explains: “It was agreed that, in this case, North Terrace is naturally viewed as an extension to the existing town centre to the south, with an existing and well established commercial area, largely providing a restaurant/café/pub offer, that compliments and brings footfall within proximity of the main shopping area of the town centre.

“Indeed, it is noted that paragraph 5.45 of the [County Durham Plan]makes specific mention of how Seaham town centre has benefited from recent investment in North Terrace.

“In this regard, the proposed change of use of the ground floor would further enhance the vitality of the area, and given the relatively small size of the commercial unit to be created and its likely intended use as a café based on submitted floor plans, the proposal would not detract from the retail function associated with the primary shopping area of Church Street some 200 metres to the south.”

The unlisted terraced property is located within the Seaham Conservation Area.

A heritage statement, submitted with the planning application, said the change of use would have a low impact on the site while “satisfying a need within the area.”

The upper two floors would also be retained and remodelled as a residential dwelling with sound insulation installed to help reduce the impact of noise on future occupiers.

For more information on the application, visit Durham County Council’s planning portal and search planning reference: DM/20/00233/FPA

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