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NEWCASTLE: Inquiry into Quayside flats

NEWCASTLE: Inquiry into Quayside flats

New plans for the Plot 12 development on Newcastle\'s Quayside. Photo: Whittam Cox

A public inquiry will be held into controversial plans to build hundreds of new flats on the Newcastle Quayside.

City councillors rejected £40 million proposals for a 14-storey apartment block on the vacant Plot 12 site at the eastern end of the Quayside earlier this year, after hundreds of objections from neighbours.

But the firms behind the scheme, builder Robertson and build-to-rent developer Packaged Living, are now bidding to revive the project with an appeal to the government.

A planning inspector will chair an inquiry starting on March 1 next year to decide whether or not to overturn Newcastle City Council’s decision to throw out the plans, which included 289 flats.

The local authority’s planning committee voted by a margin of 11 to one to reject the Plot 12 scheme in March, with councillors going against the recommendation of civic centre planning officers.

More than 300 objections had been lodged against it, as opponents complained that the large block would ruin the riverside skyline, damage views to and from the historic St Ann’s Church, and block light to residents of the neighbouring St Ann’s Quay building.

Ouseburn ward councillors who also spoke out against the Plot 12 vision called it “brutal” and accused developers of “cramming in too much to milk it as much as we can”.

The scheme could create more than 700 construction jobs and boost spending in the local economy by an estimated £4 million a year.

Following early opposition to the plan, the massive apartment block had been redesigned to reduce its height by two storeys, move it 1.5m further away from St Ann’s Quay, and remove a ‘nib’ from one corner to improve views from the church.

Planning consultant Harvey Emms told the planning committee hearing in March that the revised plans were “proportionate” and would deliver a “wealth of public benefits”.

In an appeal document lodged with the government’s planning inspectorate, the appellants said that the issues surrounding Plot 12 are “complex, highly contentious and require expert planning judgement”.

The site is one of the last parcels of undeveloped land on the Quayside and has been the subject of multiple failed construction bids over the decades.

A council spokesperson said: “A planning inquiry will be held on behalf of the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities into the council’s decision to refuse planning permission for 289 flats on land known as Plot 12 on Newcastle Quayside. The council looks forward to setting out before the inquiry the rationale behind its decision.”

Words: Daniel Holland, Local Democracy Reporter


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