Shipping container tapas restaurant in Newbiggin recommended for planning approval

Council planners have recommended that a proposed shipping container cafe in Northumberland is granted planning permission.
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Plans were submitted in September 2023 for a tapas restaurant made from three shipping containers at the site of a now-demolished public toilets block at the end of High Street in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.

The application’s fate will be decided by councillors as it sits on Northumberland County Council land, and planners have recommended it is approved at next week’s meeting of the Ashington and Blyth Local Area Planning Committee.

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23 members of the public objected to the plans, while 25 supportive comments were submitted.

A computer-generated image of how the restaurant would look once built. (Photo by TapaShack)A computer-generated image of how the restaurant would look once built. (Photo by TapaShack)
A computer-generated image of how the restaurant would look once built. (Photo by TapaShack)

In their report ahead of the committee meeting, council planners said: “The application recognises that the proposal would create employment opportunities by way of four full time roles and two part time roles, thus bringing jobs to the area upon completion and operation of the proposed development.

“The development would also provide enhanced tourism opportunities for the settlement of Newbiggin and introduce a facility towards the northern end of the town.

“The development would likely increase footfall, which has been taken into consideration. The balance of this is afforded to the provision of a greater experience for those visiting or living within the settlement by way of increased services.”

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Objectors had raised concerns about parking problems, but the council’s highways team determined that off-street parking was not feasible at the site and that there is enough scope in the area for parking on-street or in public car parks.

Privacy concerns were also dismissed by planners, saying local residents are far enough away that there will not be privacy issues, and an adjustment has been made to original plans to prevent overlooking of the Cresswell Arms.

The plans feature indoor and outdoor seating on both stories and promise the venue will be wheelchair accessible.

The application was submitted by Newbiggin resident Graeme Bowman, who says the restaurant will be named TapaShack and will serve small plates with Mediterranean flavours.

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He previously told the Northumberland Gazette: “If you look at some of the ingredients that we are going to use, we want to make it so that you can taste the sun in your food. And we want to make it at a reasonable cost as well.”