Villagers call for rethink over ‘eyesore’ housing plans

PLANNING PROTEST ... Whitburn residents who are concerned about plans for six houses on land at the bottom of Church Lane.
PLANNING PROTEST ... Whitburn residents who are concerned about plans for six houses on land at the bottom of Church Lane.
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RESIDENTS are calling for a rethink on “eyesore” housing plans for a village site.

Stella Property Investments wants to build five contemporary executive town houses in a terrace on land off Church Lane in Whitburn.

Visually, it’s going to be an eyesore, because they will be built 40ft tall, three storeys high, and look on to the children’s playground in Cornthwaite Park.

John Shields, warden, Whitburn Parish Church

But while objectors want to see the scrubland be redeveloped, they say two homes rather than five would be more suitable and say the designs could damage the look of the village.

A public meeting will be held tonight to discuss views on the application.

John Shield, a warden of Whitburn Parish Church, is among those against the scheme, which would be built in a conservation area if approved.

He said: “These will be five houses with five bedrooms, so there will be 20 cars and 20 cars coming and going at peak times.

“I’m concerned these houses will further erode the area and the car parking issue will be a further incongruity in the surroundings and I cannot support the application.

“The traffic access will be a problem for the community and the people in these houses will be ordering from supermarkets, so their deliveries will be going down the lane and there will be lorries while it’s being built.

“Visually, it’s going to be an eyesore, because they will be built 40ft tall, three storeys high, and look on to the children’s playground in Cornthwaite Park. If there were just two houses down there, we would support that.”

He added a petition of more than 280 names was collected against the last plans for the land, when six houses were proposed.

Objectors say a review of the proposals was carried out when English Heritage raised issues with the number of homes suggested for the land, where a bungalow stood before it was damaged in a fire.

It has since become a magnet for vandals who have daubed graffiti on walls, pulled down stones, left it littered with beer cans and evidence of solvent abuse has been found. Stella Property Investments has worked on the designs with Fitz Architects, and says the project will halt damage to the area.

Stephanie Robinson Jones, director of the property firm, said: “It is disappointing to hear the continuing negativity of a few to our development proposals, while completely disregarding all the positive aspects of the project.

“The specific issues of the objectors are either ill-informed or subjective, everybody is entitled to an opinion but it should be based on facts.

“At all times Stella Property Investments Ltd have acted in a thoroughly professional manner and are meticulously following South Tyneside Council’s planning protocol in order to achieve a successful planning consent and will continue to do so.”

The council’s brief for the site states any development on the land has the potential to be seen from “quite long distances” and will make a visual statement.

The residents will meet at 7pm tonight in the Barnes Institute in East Street.

Twitter: @shieldsgazette