Developers lose appeal for controversial Plot 12 development on Newcastle's Quayside

Whittam Cox Architects
Developers have lost their bid to build almost 300 flats on Newcastle's Quayside. Credit: Whittam Cox Architects.

Developers have lost their appeal to build almost 300 flats on a contentious city centre site.

Court of Appeal judges dealt another blow for the proposed Packaged Living and Robertson Property development on the Plot 12 site on Newcastle's Quayside.

The proposals, which critics have branded “monolithic”, have been the subject of a prolonged legal fight since first being rejected by Newcastle City Council just over two years ago.

It has been claimed that the 289-flat complex, which would sit on a patch of land which has lain empty for decades, would block the view to and from the historic St Ann’s Church and would “decimate” the living conditions of its neighbours at the St Ann’s Quay building.

The developers had successfully challenged the city council’s initial decision at a public inquiry in March 2022, but that was quashed by a High Court ruling last November.

The applicants then took the battle to the Court of Appeal, but have now seen their latest attempt to salvage the multi-million pound proposals fail.

Judges have upheld the High Court’s view that planning inspector Claire Searson made a legal error in her conclusions from the inquiry by not giving sufficient weight to the harm that would be caused to the Grade I listed church.

Louise Richley, a director of the St Ann’s Quay building’s management company, said: “This scheme was universally rejected not just by the council but by every single neighbour of the development. We genuinely hope this is the end of it now and the developer will go back to the drawing board and look at the whole thing again.

“We are not against development on that plot – it just has to be really carefully considered moving forward, based on the heritage implications and the fact that St Ann’s Church is Grade I listed.

“There are obviously a lot of constraints with the site, but hopefully next time that will be given much more consideration.”

Dismissing the developers’ appeal in a ruling issued on Friday, Senior President of Tribunals Sir Keith Lindblom concluded that there was a “deficiency” in the planning inspector’s verdict and “a real uncertainty about what she meant”.

He added that it was “not impossible to foresee a different outcome” if a second public inquiry were to be held.

Lord Justice Lewis said: “The reasons do not adequately explain the inspector’s conclusion on that issue [the impact on St Ann’s Church] and leave a genuine and substantial doubt as to whether or not the inspector had taken a legally irrelevant consideration into account. For that reason, I agree that the appeal should be dismissed.”

A council spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the Court of Appeal has dismissed the developer’s appeal against the High Court decision in the council’s favour for Plot 12, meaning the judgement of the High Court still stands.”

Packaged Living was contacted by the Local Democracy Reporting service for a comment.

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