Appeal to demolish marina block upheld

The existing amenities building
The existing amenities building

PLANS by Hartlepool Marina bosses to demolish a unit and build a two-storey building in its place have been given the go-ahead by a planning inspector.

Directors submitted plans to knock down the amenity block at the southern end of Navigation Point and replace it with a larger two-storey building which could include either a cafe, restaurant or store.

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The plans were knocked back last November by Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee, which went against an officer recommendation.

But they have now been approved after planning inspector Anthony Lyman allowed an appeal.

The current building is used by boat and yacht owners and is directly opposite Abdiel House, which houses The Moorings Eaterie cafe.

The ground floor of the building will be used for commercial use, with the yacht club and amenity facilities on the first floor including male and female changing facilities, a kitchen, bar area and cafe. The plans included glazed canopies, a balcony and external spiral staircase.

Jeremy Good, a director at England and Lyle Planning Consultants, said: “We are very pleased with the inspector’s decision after what has been a hard fought battle over this site with Hartlepool Borough Council.

“It is unfortunately on schemes, such as this, that elected members do not feel that they can follow the recommendation of their professional officers, as this would have saved a great deal of time for my clients and would have avoided the council having to pay considerable costs.

“Our client now looks forward to bringing this investment to the town and hopes that future attempts to invest in the area are not met with such resistance.”

A separate application for costs has also been submitted.

The re-submitted planning application, which had already been rejected last June, was rejected in November by 10 votes to one.

Councillors had concerns about the size and scale, drainage issues and the impact on other shops.

A planning report to the committee explained that because the proposed building has a larger footprint than the current building it will mean the loss of car parking spaces.

But report by Mr Lyman said: “The appeal is allowed and planning permission is granted for the demolition of existing building and the erection of a two storey building comprising commercial unit at ground floor level and a yacht club and amenity facilities at first floor at Navigation Point, Middleton Road.”

Mr Lyman said the current building had limited architectural merit and said he had no reason to disagree with the size and scale of the new build.

He added that the highway authority had not objected and that the foul water drains had recently been adopted by the local water company, who had not raised any objections.

A council spokesman said: “We are aware of the decision of the planning inspector and this will be reported to the planning committee in due course.”