Bid to transform derelict Hartlepool pub into pub and restaurant faces setback

A bid to regenerate a derelict former pub into a bar and restaurant is facing a potential setback.

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 6:51 pm
Hartlepool's former New Alma pub.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee will next week discuss plans to replace all windows at The New Alma, in Whitby Street, Hartlepool.

Councillors on Wednesday, August 25, will decide on a further application, submitted by businessman Rajib Malik, to replace the timber casement and sliding sash windows at the site near Church Street with uPVC double glazing of the same style.

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Councillor Jonathan Brash, who represents the Burn Valley ward on Hartlepool Borough Council, has urged the council to "show flexibility" over the issue.

A report from senior council planning officer Jane Tindall ahead of the meeting is recommending the proposals are refused.

She said: “It is considered that the replacement of traditional materials with a modern material uPVC is considered to be a loss of character and not in keeping with the character of the buildings.

“No evidence has been presented by the applicant to provide a justification for the proposed uniformity of the windows on the building.

“Furthermore, insufficient information has been provided to demonstrate that this harm is outweighed by any public benefits.”

The report also notes a concern raised by the applicant that the cost of replacing the windows in timber would be “substantially” more than in uPVC.

Yet Ms Tindall states “this is not a material planning consideration that would justify the harm identified to the heritage asset.”

Last month Cllr Jonathan Brash, Burn Valley ward representative, called on the council planning committee to “show flexibility” over the matter and support the development.

He raised concerns planning restrictions in conservation areas like Church Street stipulate the windows should be single pane and timbered, which could threaten the development due to the cost, and being less energy efficient.

He said: “We must back the businesses in our town if we are going to see the economic regeneration we need.”

Cllr Brash wrote to Cllr Mike Young, chair of the planning committee, requesting the matter be looked at by the committee.

Cllr Young confirmed he had received the letter and asked for it to be put on a future meeting agenda.