Housing plans approved for former Mayflower Glass site in East Boldon - despite objectors fears over sewage
The former base of an award-winning glass firm is set to be demolished to make way for new homes.
Plans were lodged with South Tyneside Council in 2019 to redevelop the ex-Mayflower Glass site at Moor Lane, East Boldon.
In the 1990s, the business was a major employer and provided products for the international giftware market, scooping the Queen’s Award for Export on two occasions.
According to information submitted with the planning application, glass production at Mayflower Glass Ltd was moved abroad leading to job losses and the firm later going into administration.
This week, South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee discussed proposals from GER Property Ltd to clear the site and build up to nine homes.
The outline plans included a proposed access via Moor Lane and Whitburn Road with the scale, design and layout of the estate reserved until a later date.
An initial bid for 13 homes was also amended to nine homes.
During consultation, several written objections were lodged raising concerns about the location, affordable housing, vehicle access and potential impacts on wildlife.
Local campaigner Bob Latimer also objected to the plans stating the development would add to sewerage discharges from the Long Sea Outfall at Whitburn.
At a planning meeting on July 20, which was held via videolink and broadcast live on YouTube, concerns were raised about the local sewerage system not being able to cope with new housing developments.
An objector statement linked to the address Shell Hill, Bents Road, Whitburn, was also read to the committee.
The statement called for the application to be refused until more capacity is created in the sewerage system or for an independent assessment of the sewerage network.
Planners said decisions relating to foul water connections and the infrastructure related to the treatment of sewer waste are made by Northumbrian Water, not the council as planning authority.
In the committee report, Northumbrian Water confirmed that there is spare capacity in the existing sewerage system to treat foul waste water associated with the housing plans.
Meanwhile, council environmental chiefs said there was no evidence to suggest that discharges to sea were affecting the quality of bathing waters along the coast.
Operations Manager for Environmental Protection, Laura Turvey, also responded to the request for an independent assessment.
“The right to connect to an existing public sewer is covered by section 106 of the Water Act (1991) which sits outside of planning law,” she said.
“This gives the absolute right for a connection to be made whether there is capacity within the sewerage system at the desired point of connection or not and therefore the result of any independent assessment may be irrelevant.”
As Northumbrian Water is a private limited company, the council officer added, gaining permission to access their information to carry out an independent assessment would be “highly unlikely.”
No industrial plans for the site
Councillors heard the Mayflower Glass site had been advertised for sale and lease since 2009 with no interest received to secure the site for employment uses.
This is understood to be linked to the “dilapidated condition of the buildings” and other matters.
A statement from BH Planning & Design, on behalf of the applicant, noted the benefits of the scheme and lack of technical objections.
The applicant also stressed that the amount of foul water produced from the housing development would be less than the previous industrial use of the site.
The statement went on to say: “The social, economic and environmental benefits that would be delivered by the scheme are significant and would overwhelmingly outweigh the loss of an existing employment site that has very little, if any, prospect of being brought back into use for employment purposes.”
Planning Committee member, Cllr Gladys Hobson, noted the site was in a sustainable location in terms of nearby shops and public transport.
However, Cllr Anne Hetherington raised concerns about the potential impact on the the green belt when full ‘reserved matters’ plans are submitted.
Although the outline application applies to previously developed site or ‘brownfield’ land, planners said policies are in place protect the green belt if a bigger scheme is lodged in future.
Following discussion, the council’s Planning Committee voted unanimously to approve the outline housing plans.