Conversion plans for former Hartlepool coastguard station get rejected again

Headland Lighthouse
Headland Lighthouse

Plans to turn a former coastguard station in the middle of one of Hartlepool’s most historic sites into a house have been thrown out.

It had been proposed to convert the vacant building next to the Heugh Gun Battery and Heugh Lighthouse on the Headland into a home.

The dwelling would be incongruous, overbearing and intrusive

Planning inspector Susan Ashworth

The application by Mark Beard was rejected by Hartlepool Borough Council in November on heritage grounds.

Mr Beard lodged an appeal against the council’s refusal to the Planning Inspectorate.

But Inspector Susan Ashworth, who is appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, dismissed the appeal.

Ms Ashworth said the proposal would harm the historic nature of the site which also includes the mounted Sebastapol Gun which was captured from the Russian army during the Crimean War and presented to Hartlepool Borough Council in 1857.

Headland resident Lisa Empson, an artist, who opposed the plans, welcomed the inspector’s decision.

She said: “I think it’s absolutely wonderful, common sense has prevailed.

“It just shows that ordinary people can make a difference. The inspector said any construction would completely destroy the tranquillity of the area.”

The proposal for a change of use would have seen the flat-roof coastguard building extended by adding a steel container-like structure above the original building.

A new brick tower to provide a viewing gallery would also have been built.

Ms Ashworth said the size and unusual design of the works would make it more prominent in the heritage setting.

She added: “The proposal would introduce a domestic use into what is currently an area of historic interest and reflective character.

“In such close proximity, it seems to me the dwelling would be incongruous, overbearing and intrusive.

“In addition, the proposal would harm the setting of the listed gun, locally listed lighthouse and the scheduled artillery battery.”