STACK Whitley Bay: Councillors approve Empress Ballroom roof terrace despite school's privacy objections
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Proposals to transform the vacant former ballroom and ex-bingo hall into a new STACK venue have progressed after councillors green-lit the construction of an external roof terrace.
This comes despite opposition from nearby households and the neighbouring Marine Park First School.
Council officers acknowledged opposition due to the proximity of the proposed STACK food and drink venue to the school and homes.
However, officers said that the proposed venue is 45 metres away from the nearest homes, more than the 31 metres usually required.
In addition, a previous council report dismissed Marine Park’s requests for the closure of the terrace during school hours or screening as “unreasonable”.
The council’s report stated: “Whilst the terrace will be visible within the street scene, it will not result in any obstruction of view from residential dwellings.
"The applicant has also commented on these concerns pointing out that the site is within a town centre location and the proposal would not create an unacceptable impact in terms of overlooking or privacy.”
STACK’s peak opening times will be during the evenings and weekends, therefore the number of people using it during school hours will be limited.
Councillors also approved works that would alter the inside of the ballroom which would result in the “loss of historic fabric.”
However, officers argued that on balance it was better to allow the building to be brought back into use, having been vacant since 2018, and allow less than substantial damage to the listed building.