Posted 25th March 2019
City Planning Committee Councillors voted on Friday to turn down a bid to build 58 river-view apartments on the former St Peter's Station on Walker Road, overlooking St. Peter's, defying the judgement of city planning officers.
Their decision came amid grave warnings that the development could have severe consequences for the adjacent Waste Management Centre.
Newcastle City Council waste bosses feared that an influx of new residents living downwind of the Suez-owned site would cause such a spike in complaints about smell and noise that it could ultimately force the site to shut down.
Councillor Nick Kemp, the authority's cabinet member for environment and a local ward councillor, argued to a planning committee on Friday that it would be "insane" to have a housing development so near to the tip.
He added: "It is, for me, impossible to think of a more ludicrous development on a worse site.
"It astonishes me that we are in a position where we could say it is acceptable to permit a development next to a Household Waste and Recycling Centre, when you can look at the daily and weekly number of concerns raised by residents who live near the existing ones across the city.
"It is the wrong site, it is the wrong scheme, and it is the wrong location."
Councillor Kemp said that a swathe of new complaints about disgusting odours - especially in the summer - as well as noise and traffic issues could create a "critical mass" of concerns that would pose a risk to the tip's future.
He added that it would represent "remarkable folly" to put the site at risk of closure at a time when the council is urging more people to recycle and cracking down on fly-tipping. In the north of the city, Brunswick tip is also facing the prospect of closure in 2020/21 as part of the council's budget cutting plans.
The Walker Road proposals, from developer Yasser Alamoudi Limited, would have seen three interlinked apartment blocks built on the vacant scrapyard site, after previous designs for five blocks were redrawn in the face of heavy opposition.
The council's planning office had recommended the scheme for approval - believing there was "no evidence" that odours from the tip would be unacceptable, and that the Environment Agency rather than the council would be responsible for dealing with any issues.
Planning Committee councillors voted by a margin of seven to one - with two abstentions - to refuse planning permission, on grounds that residents could be exposed to excessive odours.
(Source: ChronicleLive, Friday 22 March 2019)