Hotel expansion denied over seabird impact concerns

Expansion of a Tyne and Wear seafront hotel through conversion of an integral car park to create an additional 27 bedrooms was rejected due to likely impacts on a protected coastal habitat.

400-026-144 (Image Credit: Sunderland City Council)
400-026-144 (Image Credit: Sunderland City Council)

The hotel lay some 125 metres from a rocky shoreline designated as a SPA and Ramsar site and SSSI because it provided important winter habitat for coastal seabirds. The appellant suggested there would be limited disturbance to birds given a business plan focused on attracting elderly and retired people who would be less likely to venture towards the protected rocks. The appellant also suggested the additional rooms would be let on a ‘pet-free’ basis and information leaflets provided to guests. However, in the absence of any legal mechanism to secure the suggested mitigation, and doubt over its effectiveness, the inspector decided the adverse impact on nature conservation would be contrary to policy and outweighed the economic benefits of expanding the hotel.

On other matters the inspector found no harm to highway safety or the amenity of residents in surrounding streets from the loss of 24 hotel parking spaces, observing alternative free car parking and public transport options available to guests, and commenting that the occasional inconvenience to residents from guests parking in front of their houses was to be expected when living close to a coast attracting visitors.

Inspector: T Burnham; Written representations

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