Go back to the Drawing Board in Jesmond!

April 1, 2012 5:45 PM

Since the well-attended public meeting in January at St George's church, we have been working hard to find out exactly what residents think about the planning application for Jesmond Towers. Unsurprisingly, there is a wide range of views about exactly what should happen on the site. After many discussions with residents and after reading through the hundreds of comments sent into the council, we felt that there was a clear majority view to the effect that:

  • Some development of the site is probably inevitable
  • A high quality development of the site would be desirable
  • The current proposals are not acceptable

Major problems are the scale of the development and that many features are completely inappropriate in a Conservation Area. Too much green space will be lost and there are concerns about the impact of traffic, which have not been addressed.

We have submitted formal objections to the proposals, making these points and several others. On March 16th Council planning officers issued a detailed initial response to the application. This is a 60 page document which can be found on the council website. Importantly, the conclusion states:

"….proposals for demolition are not sufficiently justified … The proposed new build within the site is considered to have a detrimental impact upon the character and the appearance of the Jesmond Dene Conservation Area. It is not considered that the current proposal would either preserve or enhance the conservation area."

The council report does not share residents' views about the potential for traffic problems. We feel the planners have underestimated potential difficulties and we will continue to raise questions about this.

The ball is now in Shepherd's court. They have told us they expect to be able to "outline their response [to the council report] in a month or so". We hope that any new proposals deal fully with the many reasonable concerns that residents have raised. There is unlikely to be any final hearing before mid-May at the very earliest.

Councillor Breakey said: "Many residents have taken a lot of time and trouble to make comments to the council. I am sure this has had a significant impact. We have been very pleased to be able to support residents in their efforts. We will continue to work together with the Jesmond Action Group and the Jesmond Residents Association both of which have made a huge effort to stand up for residents' interests."