Seaburns' councillors claims are unhelpful

I am indebted to Councillor Margaret Beck for responding to my earlier letter concerning the Siglion proposal for Seaburn.

Monday, 31st December 2018, 10:58 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 2:33 am

As an invited objector present at the meeting, I was aware that the application on June 28, 2018, was for outline planning permission (I say so in my letter), and indeed at the time the chairman explained the significance of this by stating that the resulting permission only defined the boundary of the proposal, and enabled the council to proceed with the demolition of the Pullman Lodge and Seaburn Centre.

However, this outline planning permission also sends out a signal to developers and builders that the council is willing to consider further, full planning applications for up to 279 houses and a number of unspecified (and at this stage fictitious) seaside leisure facilities.

Councillor Beck refers in her letter to decisions being made on hard facts and planning law rather than wishes and so at this point maybe some background would be useful.

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At every Siglion arranged meeting that I attended, the CEO, John Seager, opened the proceedings by stating that the proposal was a “mixed use development” comprising of seaside leisure facilities and housing.

These two aspects of the plan are locked together and are apparently interdependent, the implication being that if the residents of Sunderland want new seaside facilities, they’ve got to accept houses as well.

Questions from those present at the meetings as to why the project was structured in this way were never properly answered.

And it was in this form that the proposal went before the Planning Committee (including two Fulwell councillors), who unanimously voted to approve outline planning permission.

Was this some form of tactical voting – if so its subtlety eludes me?

Councillors Beck and Francis now both claim in their respective newsletters to be against the proposals.

I have lived in Seaburn since 1973 and so have 45 years invested in the area.

I am neither politically motivated, nor a militant activist, but merely a local resident who doesn’t want to see Seaburn turned into a large housing estate.

Having councillors who support the plan in outline and then claim to be against it in their newsletters is to say the least, unhelpful.

Frank Hunter