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Terror-threat flats in North Shields refused

Land at North Shields Marina where developers had hoped to build flats.
Land at North Shields Marina where developers had hoped to build flats.

Terror threats, a lack of parking and a bland design were blamed as plans to build flats at North Shields Marina were refused.

Councillors were told that terrorists may use the flats to get close to and target the cruise liners and Royal Naval vessels which use the dock.

Andy Khan, head of estates at Port of Tyne, told councillors at North Tyneside Council planning committee meeting on Tuesday that the developers’ proposals for windows which are sealed shut would not thwart a terrorist planning an attack from the flat block.

He said: “This scheme would bring increased risk to cruise passengers and Navy vessels.

“Although the windows would be locked, I’m sure if a robust terrorist wanted to they could remove the glazing.

“It is necessary to remember that the country is still at risk and the threat level is severe.”

He added that if the 36 flats were built, the Royal Navy would likely reconsider using the dock and that it would affect Port of Tyne’s plans to attract more cruise liners to the region.

Councillors were told in the meeting at North Tyneside Civic Centre that the four to six-storey flat blocks proposed were ‘bland and poorly designed’.

Coun John O’Shea said: “I am a bit uncomfortable about this development going forward. I am concerned that the developer hasn’t complied with the affordable housing requirements. It is essential to the borough and I am concerned that the developer doesn’t want to give a section 106 payment.”

He added: “I’m not totally convinced by the parking arrangements proposed.”

Planning committee chairman Frank Lott said: “This is the one location on the river where cruise ships and Navy ships dock and we need to support the growing of the port as it has an impact on the local economy and jobs.”

He added: “As for security, this could have a damaging effect.”

Councillors voted unanimously to refuse permission for Cussins Property Group to build flats on the land.

By Laura Hill, Local Democracy Reporting Service