Ouseburn apartment plans could be approved this week as council again set to deliver verdict

Plans to build a new apartment complex in the Ouseburn Valley could be given the green light this week.

Designs for a new building in Lime Street, housing 57 flats, are due before city councillors for a verdict on Friday – after a decision was delayed this summer. Despite being labelled “overbearing” by opponents who claim the site would “dwarf” neighbouring properties, the scheme looks set to go ahead.

The crescent-shaped housing block would stand between four and six storeys tall and be built on the site of warehouses and a disused pigeon cree, all of which would have to be demolished to make way for the development. Newcastle City Council planners have recommended that councillors approve the scheme at a meeting of the local authority’s planning committee on Friday morning, November 24.

The plans, from developer Property @Lime St, had previously been due to come to the committee in August but were withdrawn so that the applicant could undertake an assessment of the project’s financial viability. As a result of that report, the council has accepted that the developer would not be able to provide any affordable housing without making the scheme unviable.

Under usual requirements, the council would mandate the inclusion of seven affordable units within the block or a financial contribution of almost £380,000 towards affordable housing elsewhere in the city.

There have been 16 local objections to the building proposals, which also include a series of new commercial units that could house businesses such as a restaurant, florist or bakery. One opponent told the council: “This is adjacent to our property and we believe it will dwarf our property, reduce privacy, reduce natural daylight and eliminate any form of view we had across Ouseburn.”

However, council officers have concluded that the scheme “will not have a detrimental impact on the privacy or light” to the neighbouring Lime Square properties. Planners admitted that the new development would “fail to preserve the character of the valley” when viewed from Byker Bridge.

But, they added: “However in other views the proposed development sits more comfortably in its context and is acceptable in terms of its scale, massing and design and secures a high quality mixed use scheme on this prominent site within the Ouseburn Valley Conservation Area. It is considered that the level of public benefit gained by the development (economic, social and environmental) outweighs the less than substantial harm to the setting of the heritage assets.”

The Ouseburn Trust called the development “well resolved” – but also raised concerns about an “oversupply of housing” in what has become one of the city’s most popular areas.

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