CONSERVATION: Area strategy is most important

The unsigned letters regarding Tynemouth Conservation Area Management Strategy (TCAMS) (News Guardian, August 13 and 27) require some clarification.

A particular aspect of the 2014 Kings Priory School planning applications, namely the proposed external glass and steel structured lift shaft and entrance lobby on the face of a prominent Grade II listed building, in the heart of Tynemouth Conservation Area, were most definitely overwhelmingly objected to by the majority of the general public respondents to this planning application.

In addition, several highly regarded national and local conservation bodies also voiced serious objections.

This is a matter of fact and can be clearly seen by anyone viewing the application on North Tyneside Council’s planning public access website.

The subsequent significantly revised plans that were later accepted by the local authority show that this initial atrocious design was entirely unnecessary, having later accommodated a lift shaft internally.

The unsigned letter writer (August 27) quotes at great length a publicly documented objection to this inappropriate external lift shaft and attributes this to Dr Joan Harvey.

This is incorrect. The quoted comments are mine.

I am not an active TCAMS participant, let alone a core member, however, I do generally support the aims and principles behind both the 2001 Tynemouth Village Character Statement and the Tynemouth Village Conservation Area Management Strategy Supplementary Planning Document April 2014.

These documents, for better or worse, were developed after widespread consultation, with input from the public in Tynemouth and the wider area.

Anyone could have contributed and participation was actively sought and welcomed.

Anyone reviewing these documents can see that they are neither “naïve” nor “selfishly nostalgic”, and they most certainly do take into consideration the commercial viability of Tynemouth businesses, which are vital to the life and vibrancy of the area.

However, I can also personally assure you that I have had numerous unsolicited very negative comments from passers-by, residents and visitors as to the their astonishment and disappointment that Kings School, as it was then, was allowed by planning officers to construct its disproportionate, inappropriate and ugly buildings in Station Terrace, in the heart of a conservation area, some six or so years ago.

This has been described to me as “resembling a discount carpet warehouse more suited to an industrial estate”.

This building could never be described, or excused, as being “cutting edge architecture” as it once was by a planning officer.

Had the TCAMS process been in place at that time it almost certainly, and quite rightly, would have been refused planning permission, and we all could have been spared this ugly edifice.

The same sentiments applied to the inappropriate glass and steel structure proposed early in 2014. This was also without any architectural merit whatsoever.

It would have been clearly and prominently visible from Allendale Place, a busy entry point into the heart of Tynemouth Village Conservation Area, and it would have set an entirely wrong tone.

The TCAMS process, in helping to prevent such travesties, is most important to Tynemouth and thus needs to be actively and constructively supported by as many members of the public, from both within Tynemouth and the wider area, as possible.

The current and long-term future best interests of Tynemouth as a whole need to be prioritised for the benefit of all and not for any one single body.

Any detractors should perhaps voice their opinions openly at the next scheduled TCAMS meeting.

I understand that this will be held sometime in late October, venue, date and time to be confirmed and publicised fully later.


Tynemouth Resident