Trees to be lost as new homes to be built on former school site

Plans to build homes on an ex-school site are set to be approved, despite concerns over the loss of trees.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 14 May, 2019, 12:51

Next week, South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee will discuss proposals for the former Boldon C of E Primary School site, off Rectory Bank.

The undersubscribed school closed in 2009 – despite a 4,100-name parent protest petition – and was demolished last year.

Now, housebuilder Karbon Homes aims to build 16 properties on the site which will be available under a ‘rent to buy’ scheme.

This includes 10 three-bed and six four-bed homes – some three-storeys high – providing much-needed low cost housing.

The Karbon Homes scheme relates mainly to the former school building and playground area – not its playing fields.

However, the application hit several barriers during consultation including an objection from Sport England over the potential impact on playing fields.

Although this was later withdrawn, South Tyneside Council’s own officers  raised concerns over the loss of trees – a view shared by the West Boldon Residents Association, who wrote to the council describing the trees as the “lungs of the area.”

While original proposals included removing all trees within the site, a new deal was struck to save nine trees along the northern boundary.

However, 20 trees are still set to be lost to make way for housing.

A planning report, drafted for councillors, adds: “The decision to recommend the approval of the application and the resultant loss of the trees, specifically those along North Road, which contribute to the visual amenity of the area has been a finely balanced decision.

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“However significant weight has been given to the need to provide affordable housing in this locality and the need to redevelop this constrained site.”

After discussions, the applicant has agreed to fund replacement tree planting in the area as part of a section 106 agreement.

The new trees could be planted in council-owned area known locally as ‘The Leap’ with the developer funding future maintenance.

If approved, the plans will be subject to several conditions around  affordable housing and reducing impact on wider conservation areas.

A new vehicle access will be taken from North Road, which requires the removal of an unused bus shelter on North Road.

And developers have also agreed to provide extra visitor parking for tenants and future users of the playing pitch.

Planning officers have recommended the proposals for approval with a final decision expected at South Shields Town Hall on May 20.

The meeting starts at 10.30am and for more information, visit: www.southtyneside.gov.uk

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service