The Society objected to the initial plans for the Plot 12 residential development in March 2020 (see our comments here which were posted on to the council’s planning portal).
In September 2020, the application was withdrawn after councillors overwhelmingly rejected the scheme.
In November 2020 a revised application was submitted to the council which although reduced the building in height and reduced the number of apartments by 3, it was very similar to the original and our initial objections remained unaltered.
“The Northumberland and Newcastle Society commented on the original submission and objected to the proposal. Whilst the Society support the principle of residential development on brownfield sites, they consider the proposal is too high and would be visually overwhelming; would have a negative impact on the setting of St. Ann’s Church and the visual connection between St. Ann’s and the River Tyne; lack of affordable housing; lack of open amenity space; overprovision of commercial space; narrow internal corridors; uninteresting elevational treatment. In making these comments the Society suggested a number of amendments to the scheme, including a reduction in height and unit numbers, reduction in the level of commercial floorspace and internal redesign”.
In March 2021 while the application was approved by the City Planning Department, at a planning meeting which lasted 5 hours, and where our objections were referenced at the start, the Planning Committee once again rejected the development based in the main on the importance of the historic buildings (mainly St Ann’s Church) and other heritage assets near the site.
In November 2021 the developers appealed to the Secretary of State against refusal of planning consent by Newcastle upon Tyne City Council and a planning appeal inquiry was proposed for 1st March 2022.
The Society had made a second submission in support of the City Council’s decision to refuse planning approval for the development and Society Chair, John Matthews attended and spoke in person at Newcastle Civic Centre and restated our objections to the scheme. (See the submission here).
In May 2022, the Society was informed by the council that the Government Inspector had upheld the developer’s appeal. however, they subsequently felt that there were sufficient grounds to challenge the decision in the High Court.
On 12th October 2022, the case was heard by a judge at the High Court which was held in the Moot Hall in Newcastle. John Matthews attended the proceedings taking a seat in the public gallery. The result would depend on the City Council being able to prove that “an error in law” had taken place during the inquiry.
On 1st November 2022 it was announced that the High Court challenge was successful and found in favour of the City Council and the original planning consent for Plot 12 was quashed. The Judge found that the government inspector failed to properly assess the harm to the setting of St. Ann’s Church.
The developer may seek to appeal or resubmit yet another application which we will be able to comment upon if or when it is received by the City Council.
[Image: Newcastle Chronicle]