Student hall plans rejected

The former nursing home in Hutton Avenue
The former nursing home in Hutton Avenue

CONTROVERSIAL plans to transform a former nursing home into 28-bed student accommodation have been thrown out.

Developers wanted to convert the former Mount Oswald Nursing Home, in Hutton Avenue, Hartlepool, into “much-needed” student accommodation.

The two-and-a-half storey building has been closed for the past five years and it was planned to house students from the Cleveland College of Art and Design.

College bosses were “very enthusiastic” as they said there is a lack of student accommodation.

But councillors on Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously rejected plans against officer recommendation.

Residents - who said it was “totally unsuitable” for a conversation area - say they are delighted with the decision.

They also raised concerns about parking, security issues as well as noise and general disturbance.

Surrey-based developers McHale Properties sid it intended to submit an appeal “immediately”.

Ahead of the meeting more than a dozen people had objected and around 25 residents turned up to the meeting.

David Bentham, chair of the Hutton Avenue Residents’ Association, spoke against the plans.

He said: “I am extremely pleased with the outcome.

“There was concern that large properties in Hutton Avenue, Clifton Avenue and Grange Road are attracting attention from developers looking for houses that are below market value.

“Hopefully this sets a positive precedent.

“There was a lot of concern from residents.”

Members of the Hartlepool Civic Society had also strongly objected to the plans.

Councillors said the plan was a “threat” to the conservation area, that they had not been “convinced” by the plans and that it would be detrimental to the area.

They also raised concerns about increased levels of noise and disturbance for local residents.

David Loughrey, of town-based planning agents ASP Associates, said: “Obviously we are bitterly disappointed having worked closely with the planning department on every aspect of the application, which was recommended for approval.

“We will be submitting an appeal immediately.”

Planning officers had recommended the plan for approval despite concerns raised by Sarah Scarr, the council’s landscape planning and conservation manager, who said it would “harm the character” of the Grange Conservation Area.

Hutton Avenue is made up of single and family homes and a conservation report said the plan did not “enhance” the character or appearance.

The application included alterations to windows, doors and roof lights and there would have been a permanent warden.

Mount Oswald Nursing Home was open for 17 years, but closed five years ago.