Councillors defer decision on Whitley Bay seafront flats
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North East Holdings Ltd was granted permission to demolish and redevelop the long-derelict 42nd Street pub, on East Parade, Whitley Bay, last September.
The approval of 19 new seafront flats was conditional on a investment of nearly £40,000 from the developer towards local enhancement projects and a financial contribution for affordable housing.
However, the firm has requested these contributions be lowered to around £6,000, claiming that inflationary pressures combined with the contributions could render the scheme financially inviable.
Several planning committee members expressed concern with the request, especially at the expense of an affordable housing fund.
Cllr Steve Cox said: “It concerns me that because of the cost of living crisis and inflation that means there will not be enough for affordable housing. That is massively disappointing.”
Cllt Pat Oliver said: “£6,000 does not seem to be a huge amount of money for a development of that size.
“My concern is that this could set a precedent for other developers. I know that is not a material planning concern, but it is a concern.”
The planning committee has resolved to pause approval until members have had the chance to view documents from the applicant that demonstrate the strain community funding would have on the viability of the scheme.
A spokesperson on behalf of the applicant said: “The application was discussed at last night’s planning committee where it was decided that the application was to be deferred to be considered at the next planning committee meeting to allow members further time to consider the submitted viability assessment.
“The applicant is continuing to work with the Council to find a solution and enable this high-quality development to come forward to regenerate this brownfield site on Whitley Bay’s seafront, providing much-needed new homes.”