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OUTDOOR SEATING CONTROVERSY: Residents fear increased noise pollution

A businessman has defended plans to turn part of The Fish Quay car park in North Shields into outdoor seating after they came under fire from concerned residents.
The proposals would see the parking area outside of the Quay Taphouse, River Cafe and Dodgins Yard, turned into extra seats for those businesses.
Paul Sample, director of 55 Quay Limited, the operator of Quay Taphouse, submitted the application on behalf of all the businesses.
He said: “Once the plans hopefully go through we will be able to invest in creating a beautiful outside area.
“We’re trying to improve the area – adding to the vibrant cafe culture, which is why the fish quay is thriving at the moment.”
Despite 50 members of the public expressing their support for the proposals some residents are less impressed.
Keith Powell, 70, who lives in the nearby Waterfront Apartments, said the Fish Quay has reached “saturation point” with licensed premises.
He said: “I don’t know if if will get through planning. So far everyone is against it.
“If they keep sticking pubs everywhere there won’t be a regeneration plan.
“They [the current pubs] don’t really cause problems. There is lots of pubs, it’s beautiful, but we don’t need any more.
“There’s something like 22 licensed premises. We want retail down at the Quay not just pubs, we have reached saturation point.
“We won’t be able to hear the TV or use the balcony with people looking up at us from 25 yards away.”
Nineteen objections to the proposals have been lodged with North Tyneside Council.
They raised fears about noise, rowdy behaviour, and the area becoming saturated with drinking venues with one called for the proposals to be “stopped at all costs.”
Mr Sample denied that the seating would cause noise problems, saying that the outdoor area would close at 9pm with its customers ordering their last drinks half an hour before.
He estimated that the seats would accommodate a maximum of 100 people and said that a portable toilet, mentioned in the application, would be removed from the plans following feed back from residents.
He said: “We’re trying to fix the drinking culture on the Fish Quay. During the first lockdown there was a problem with people sitting outside drinking their own alcohol.
“We were being tasked with fixing the problems when they weren’t our problems.
“If we put in a fence we can control what’s going on out there.”
The scheme’s supporters said it would “enhance” the area with another writing that it would help the area  become “hub for café culture attracting people from all regions and parts of the country which will benefit the local businesses and create jobs”.
Mr Sample added: “We have had massive, overwhelming, support and its not just coming from our customers, it’s coming from residents and businesses and the people that make up the fish quay.
“‘Booze culture’ is something that gets thrown at us but it is something that doesn’t exist any more.
“I think people are more conscientious of how they spend their time and money and rather than go and drink 10 pints they will go out and have a nice meal and a glass of wine.”
Paul Dowling, service manager for regeneratio at North Tyneside Council, added: “We are unable to comment on the planning applications as they are quasi-judicial processes.
“The North Shields master plan adopted by the Council is progressing quickly and will see significant investment in the area over the next three years. This investment will provide for a high quality offer and environment for families, residents and visitors to North Shields and the Fish Quay.”
Written by Herbert Soden, Local Democracy Reporter


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