Objections over plans for new restaurant in Tynemouth

Objectors are gearing up for a new campaign to prevent commercial development at a much loved beauty spot.

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 10:00 am
Updated Thursday, 6th February 2020, 10:00 am
The former Sea Scout Hut at Priors Haven in Tynemouth. Picture by John Millard

Developers are seeking permission to build a tourism centre and cafe in Tynemouth close to the historic Spanish Battery and Haven beach.

But the proposal, on the site of the former Sea Scout Hut at Priors Haven, has raised concerns among locals who are concerned as the plans include a restaurant bar.

The site is close to Tynemouth Village which already has a large concentration of bars, cafes and restaurants, and protesters say more licensed premises would add to existing alcohol related problems.

A planning application by Tynemouth businessman Maurice Duffy lodged with North Tyneside Council show the proposal is to pull down the empty scout hut and build on the site.

Protesters, led by Friends of the Spanish Battery, successfully stopped plans for commercial development including a bar restaurant at the Watch House Garden more than two years ago. The scheme was eventually withdrawn following a barrage of objections from the local community and statutory consultees.

Objectors are now calling upon the council to reject the latest scheme.

Members of the Friends of the Spanish Battery met on Tuesday and decided unanimously to oppose the Priors Haven scheme.

Chairman Bill Corrigan said they have learned the scheme would include a bar restaurant and would operate seven days a week, 8am to 11pm. There is also a suggestion that the free council car park nearby could be extended and charges introduced.

Mr Corrigan said the site is within a designated conservation area and wildlife corridor and is close to the historic Priory, Castle and Collingwood's Monument.

He said: "About 40 people attended the meeting and decided by a unanimous show of hands to object. We are also asking people to lodge individual objections as soon as possible as time is running out.

"We are not against sensitive development of the Sea Scout Hut site but we are strongly opposed to this scheme with licensed premises attached.

"There is already a surfeit of bars and restaurants in Tynemouth. We don't need another at the Spanish Battery, a place enjoyed by visitors seeking peace and quiet.

"If granted, this application would open the door to more commercial development which would destroy this haven of tranquility.

"It would further compound existing traffic problems, have an adverse impact on trees and wildlife, and cause serious disruption on the narrow local roads during construction.

"There are obvious reasons why this unique, historic and tranquil area is called the Haven – please let's keep it that way.''

In a planning statement submitted to the council, Mr Duffy said: “North Tyneside Council are looking for an operator to re-purpose the redundant Sea Scout Hut in Tynemouth to benefit and bring employment opportunities to the North Tyneside area.

“We envisage a style of building that is sympathetic to the environment of the North Tyneside coast.

“The site of the former Sea Scout Hut lends itself to a variety of commercial, educational, informational and heritage uses.

“The premises will offer a friendly atmosphere for all, with a set of activities that engages the local community, educates our children, attracts business leaders, tourists and locals.”