CONSERVATION: Meeting was not the first for group

Joan Harvey was very enthusiastic in her letter about the Tynemouth Conservation Area Management Strategy (TCAMS) (News Guardian, August 6).

To set the record straight, this was not the ‘first’ meeting of TCAMS as stated. The project was in fact first initiated by the elected mayor in August 2013 following a request from the Tynemouth Village Association to create a community-led conservation area management strategy.

The mayor provided funding in order to involve the North of England Civic Trust, provide leaflets, consultation and final document preparation.

Several public meetings were held throughout 2013.

The resulting TCAMS document was adopted last year as supplementary planning guidance by the council.

Key among some of the more ludicrous and off-the-wall aspirations for Tynemouth Front Street in that document were comparisons with London’s Cromwell Road and Kensington High Street, not to mention the declared verbal aim of building in front of St Oswin’s Church because the gap between the buildings at that location was deemed ‘not to be in keeping with the ethos of Front Street’.

A further novelty idea contained in the document was the suggestion for a ‘road train’ to reduce traffic in Tynemouth village, and which could be extended to other parts of the coast.

Regrettably, Tynemouth village is not short of preposterous documents produced by well-meaning but deluded individuals.

There was a community-led character statement adopted by the council in 2003 and a character appraisal was also produced and adopted in 2010.

Both of these have served no useful purpose other than to sit on shelves gathering dust and I have no doubt a similar fate awaits the current proposals so fervently advocated by Mrs Harvey.

She assures us that it is the job of the ‘new’ TCAMS team to see how it can be used to improve and enhance Tynemouth through ‘proactive and co-ordinated conservation planning, regeneration and management action’.

Readers may be interested to learn that an example of that strategy in action and the first test of the effectiveness of the latest TCAMS document was the opposition to the planned extensions to Kings Priory School in 2014. This was despite the fact that improvements to the facilities at both school sites were long overdue and necessary in order to enhance the learning environment of our local young people.

Supporters of the planning application pointed out that it was vital that Kings Priory School is able to evolve, grow and develop within the community.

Fortunately, the planning proposals for Kings Priory were overwhelmingly supported by the local community and were passed by the authority.

Tynemouth resident

Address supplied