Block of student flats obscures historic company buildings

Studio apartments for seventy students in a Tyne and Wear university city centre were rejected on heritage grounds.

The cleared site of a former hotel occupied a prominent corner position within a conservation area of varied character and high significance, in a location enclosed on two sides by locally listed buildings associated with a tobacco company but since converted to apartments. The inspector judged the eight storey building would not be unduly tall in context but the height, mansard roof design and a tower feature would not relate well to the adjoining iconic landmark buildings and would obscure a recently restored company advertisement sign as well as disrupting the historic and visual connection between the buildings, causing serious harm to the non-designated heritage assets.

The inspector accepted the public benefits of redeveloping an unsightly townscape gap and providing purpose-built student accommodation which would enable family housing to be released back into the market, but decided that less than substantial heritage harm nevertheless outweighed these benefits. Finding also a loss of outlook and daylight to neighbouring residents, the inspector dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: Sarah Housden; Hearing

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