Decision on hospital’s homes plan put on hold

PLANS to build 80 homes on land in a hospital’s grounds have been put on hold by North Tyneside Council.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has applied for planning permission to have the houses built alongside North Tyneside General Hospital in Rake Lane, North Shields.

The application was considered by the council’s planning committee on Tuesday night, but a decision was deferred pending clarification of various issues.

The site, backing on to Preston Grange Primary School, is currently a mix of grassed areas and a 204 space staff car park.

A replacement car park would be provided 100 metres away.

The trust would look to sell the land with outline planning permission in place and reinvest the proceeds in patient care.

The plans include 80 two to three-storey homes with two, three or four bedrooms, as well as garages and 194 parking spaces.

Many neighbours of the site are opposed to the development, however, as they believe the close proximity of the proposed properties will impact on their privacy.

Residents also fear that the plans will place further strain on already-oversubscribed services, such as Preston Grange Primary, GP surgeries and dentists.

Michael Barton, 42, of nearby Benbrake Avenue, said: “The impact upon residents will be enormous.

“This site is literally 30 yards away from my home, if that.

“The development will come right up to the boundary.

“It just feels as though it has been a total whitewash the way the process has taken place. Residents feel they have not had the chance to put their views forward.

“The whole development is going to fundamentally change the reason people bought houses here in the first place.”

When the application was announced in December last year, Jim Mackey, chief executive of the trust, said: “We have been working extremely hard to make efficiency savings and reduce costs so we can continue to invest in patient care.

“We have also been looking at ways to generate income, and this is a great example of how we can do this.

“Generating funds in this way will help us protect and continue to improve health services for our communities.

“The sale of this land, hopefully with outline planning permission in place, will generate substantial funds, and these will be reinvested into hospital services and facilities and help us deliver our planned improvement programme at North Tyneside General.”

The plans for the hospital site are set to be reconsidered by the committee on Tuesday, September 20.