Ouseburn Lib Dems oppose Uptin House planning application

July 27, 2016 10:30 PM
By Cllr Gareth Kane

Cllr Gareth Kane has today objected to the proposed demolition of the historic Uptin House on Stepney Road, to be replaced by more student accommodation. The text of his objection letter reads:

27 July 2016

Alison Scott, Investment and Development, Newcastle City Council, Civic Centre

Dear Alison,

Objection to Planning Application 2016/0930/01/DET at Uptin House

I wish to object to this planning application on the following grounds:

1. One Core Strategy Policies on Housing Mix

The One Core Strategy is clear that Newcastle's neighbourhoods are only sustainable if they contain a mix of tenures. Accommodation in this part of Shieldfield is almost entirely of a single type of tenure - fast-turnover private-rented accommodation designed for students. Approving this application will make the area more homogenous, not less as required by the Strategy.

The following paragraphs and policies of the Strategy apply:

10.1 At the heart of the spatial strategy is the promotion of sustainable neighbourhoods, supporting Gateshead and Newcastle's diverse population. Everyone should have the opportunity to live in a high quality, well designed home in sustainable, inclusive and mixed communities.

10.2 While it is important to provide more homes within Gateshead and Newcastle, there is a need to consider housing quality and choice in terms of new and existing communities. This chapter sets out policies which seek to ensure that everyone has opportunity to access a decent home in a quality environment and which by:

• Contribute to making existing communities safe and sustainable places to live (CS9).

• Deliver new housing in Gateshead and Newcastle across the plan period (CS10).

• Provide an appropriate mix, type and tenure of housing in a range of locations and meet the needs of specific groups (CS11).

• Meet the needs of gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople (CS12).

10.6 For communities to be attractive and sustainable, they must offer a variety of good quality homes in terms of types, sizes and tenures. They should also cater for , such as families with children, single person households, disabled and older people.

Policy CS11 Providing a Range and Choice of Housing

Promoting lifetime neighbourhoods with a good range and choice of accommodation, services and facilities to meet varied and changing needs…

It has been argued in the past that student accommodation is somehow exempt from such criteria. However there is nothing in the Strategy, or planning law as I understand it, to say that these principles do not apply to all tenures - and it is common sense that a mix of tenures and housing type means just that whatever the tenure under discussion.

2. Ouseburn Specific Policies

One Core Strategy Policy QO1 makes many specific requirements for the area in which the site is located, which would be breached by the proposed development - these have been highlighted in the extract below:

Policy QO1 Quayside and Ouseburn Sub-Area

Promoting the development of the Quayside and Ouseburn Sub-Area as a diverse and sustainable mixed-use area will be achieved by:

1. The development of a mix of housing types, sizes and tenures including family homes.

2. The continued development of a creative business cluster for small and medium sized enterprises in the Ouseburn.

6. Sustaining and enhancing the character of the area through the re-use of vacant historic buildings and by respecting the scale, plot sizes, topography and historic grain of the area.

In conclusion, the proposal to demolish Uptin House, losing the small businesses using the building, and replacing it with yet more accommodation of the exact tenure which already dominates the area, flies in the face of both strategic One Core Strategy policies and principles, as well as the specific One Core Strategy Policy for this neighbourhood. It must be rejected on this basis.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Gareth Kane