Developer loses appeal after plans rejected for new housing in East Boldon

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The plans may not go ahead

Plans for for a small housing development have been refused at appeal by a government-appointed planning inspector.

South Tyneside Council’s planning department refused an application in 2023 for an ‘L-shaped’ plot at Western Terrace in the East Boldon area.

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The site sits within the East Boldon Conservation Area and near the locally listed building Shadwell Towers and according to planning documents, was unused and had been left as an “unmanaged garden for many years”.

Housing plans refused for site off Western Terrace in East Boldon area. Picture: Google MapsHousing plans refused for site off Western Terrace in East Boldon area. Picture: Google Maps
Housing plans refused for site off Western Terrace in East Boldon area. Picture: Google Maps

Initial proposals aimed to build two detached four-bedroom family homes on the plot, with the majority of mature trees on site retained and additional trees planted to “offset” the trees lost.

During a council consultation exercise on the plans however, around 70 letters of objection were received raising concerns ranging from ecology and tree impacts, to privacy, overlooking and the suitability of the site.

As the planning application process progressed, the housing scheme was scaled back to offer one detached four-bedroom home and one detached garage, as opposed to the two dwellings originally proposed.

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However, South Tyneside Council’s planning department still had issues with the revised plan and refused it on November 13, 2023.

The main reasons for refusal, set out in a council decision report, included the loss of some of the trees on site and impacts on the local conservation area.

Council planners said the proposal “failed to safeguard the long-term vitality of the protected trees on the site” and would “cause unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the wider East Boldon Conservation Area”.

Although council planners recognised the “small economic and social benefits” of the scheme, they said these benefits were outweighed by the harm to the character and appearance of the area from the loss of trees.

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The applicant later lodged an appeal against the council refusal and a planning inspector was appointed by the Secretary of State to rule on the matter.

In an appeal decision report published this month, the planning inspector sided with the council and dismissed the appeal.

The planning inspector noted the proposal would “retain several healthy trees within the site, including the majority of trees directly adjacent and visible from the A184 and those to the southwest and southeast of the site”.

However, it was noted that the proposal would require the removal of several mature trees and while some trees were in a “poor condition and unsuitable for retention, many remain healthy with the potential to continue to positively contribute to the character of the site and that of the wider conservation area”.

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The planning inspector said the removal of trees would “disrupt the current sense of greenery and spaciousness enjoyed at the site, particularly when viewed from the adjacent residential properties to the north and south”.

The appeal decision report added: “The proposal would harm the character and appearance of the area and would fail to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area”.

Comments from the appellant noted the proposal would deliver a “significant increase in hedgerows on site and that tree planting would be accommodated where possible to mitigate for the loss of trees”.

Although the public benefits of the scheme were considered, the planning inspector said they did not “sufficiently outweigh the harm to the conservation area”.

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A previous council decision report said the total development proposed the removal of around 16 trees and six tree groups in total.

Council planners at the time said the proposed “level of replacement tree planting” would not “mitigate the loss of 16 healthy trees”.

It was noted that the “shading and outlook” from a residential use on the site would also “create threats to the retained trees’ continued good health and longevity, arising from pressure to fell or prune from future occupiers”.

The appeal decision was published on May 7, 2024, on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

More information on the appeal decision can be found by searching appeal reference: APP/A4520/W/23/3333972.

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