North area planning committee round-up

Queen Street in Amble after a visit by parking enforcement officers.
Queen Street in Amble after a visit by parking enforcement officers.

Diversification is the key for high street

A resident launched an impassioned plea for diversification of Amble’s high street in support of an application for a physiotherapy clinic.

Planning officers had recommended a scheme to change a shoe shop in Queen Street into a physiotherapy and holistic therapy centre be refused as insufficient marketing had taken place to ensure interest in the main shopping area.

But Jeff Hayes, who has to travel to Ashington for treatment for injuries sustained in a hit-and-run, said that there were several empty units.

“You read in the Gazette from traders that profits are down,” he said.

“Parking is one reason but that’s why I believe the high street has to diversify.

“We have to move with the times to get and attract new people in to do their shopping.

“The retail side of Queen Street will become ghostly so we need to diversify.”

Local member Coun Robert Arckless agreed, saying: “We are in extremely difficult times.

“I have lived in Amble all my life and I don’t think I have ever seen the retail situation so tough as in the last two or three years.”

Coun Anthony Murray said: “I welcome a retailer that comes in that’s a little different, because it brings in a different clientele and that rubs off on other businesses.”

On other side of listed building

Members went against planning officer advice to approve changes to plans for new homes at South East Farm in Rennington.

Members could not see why they should refuse dormer windows and porches on the side facing away from a listed building when dormers on the nearer side had already been approved.

Jobs at risk if plans refused

An agent for a scheme to build a new home at Kylemore House in Tranwell Woods warned that an Amble firm of builders, with eight staff, could be at risk if it didn’t go ahead. Planning officers had recommended refusal based on the density of homes it created, but the committee disagreed, citing a precedent.

Precedent set for home extension

Coun Robert Arckless said that he respected the concerns raised by Amble Town Council but had to agree with the officer’s report that the precedent was long-established for an extension on a property at 32 Bisley Road in the town. The rest of the committee agreed and the scheme was approved unanimously.