Plans for a new development on the site of the former Whickham Motor Company have been given the go ahead by Gateshead Council’s planning committee at a meeting on Wednesday, March 18th.
This followed successful intervention by Whickham Lib Dem councillors acting on behalf of local residents. Originally the draft proposals were objected to on grounds of the height and bulk of the building, but these were withdrawn following discussion between councillors, residents and council planners.
“Following a meeting with planners, it became clear that the main height of the building was to be towards Whickham Bank and the area nearest to residents would be single storey” said Cllr Peter Craig. “The residents were satisfied with this.”
Another reason for objection was the limited amount of space available for car parking and maneuvering of refuse collection lorries. A revised version of the plans increased the number of parking spaces and introduced a turning circle for the lorries. This addressed the concerns raised by residents.
The one remaining main objection was that the proposed entrance to the development conflicted with highways engineers’ plans for a new crossing facility on Whickham Bank.
The plan for a refuge island had been prepared following requests from Lib Dem councillors concerned over the safety of residents trying to cross Whickham Bank. However, this issue was resolved after discussions between Lib Dem councillors, planners and engineers resulted in a proposed new location for the crossing.
“We have actively campaigned for a crossing at this point,” said Cllr Mary Wallace, “and we are delighted that we have been able to resolve this issue. The crossing should be installed later in the year.”