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Controversial scheme given green light.

Byline: DAVE ROBSON @Daverobson_gaz

peter reimann A MULTI-MILLION pound Kirkleatham Walled Garden project has been approved - bringing with it 80 jobs and 100 apprenticeships.

But despite celebrations from some, others are not so keen, particularly surrounding the erection of a concert marquee as part of the scheme.

Some almshouses occupants "hope they may have died" before it is put up, a planning committee was told.

The marquee is one of the key features of the Kirkleatham Walled Garden project - which will see a catering academy with restaurant and shop, a horticultural academy with glasshouse, a walled garden, an events marquee and car parking.

The scheme, which is expected to create 40 direct jobs, 40 indirect jobs and more than 100 apprenticeships, would stand on a 2.9 hectare site next to the Grade 1 listed Sir William Turner's Hospital almshouses, which provide individual retirement homes for up to 30 people.

But the marquee and access elements of the plan saw Redcar and Cleveland Council's regulatory committee defer a decision last month for more information.

Yesterday's reconvened committee heard an acoustics report had been prepared suggesting "schemes of mitigation" to keep the noise to acceptable levels.

But alternative ways of accessing the site were ruled out due to cost.

Addressing the committee, almshouses resident Jean Young questioned how a 600 'plus' capacity venue with "30 plus live or recorded music events" could be allowed so near people's homes, especially as the original plans - which residents were in favour of - didn't mention a pavilion.

And she said some almshouse residents are so upset, they "hope they may have died before this takes effect" while others "are looking to where they might move to".

Another objector said the scheme was now "all about the marquee and providing 20 pieces of silver to the council".

He said: "Does anyone really care about heritage? This development is purely a vehicle for the marquee."

Councillors Brenda Forster, Billy Ayre and Anne Watts said they couldn't support the scheme, with Cllr Forster saying: "Kirkleatham is a jewel in our crown and this is going to cause chaos and havoc."

But councillors heard assurances from an acoustics consultant that a satisfactory development, which wouldn't impact on the almshouses residents, was "perfectly achievable".

The council's highways engineers were also confident the proposed access would work.

Cllr Steve Turner said: "As a council, as a town, we need this development. Kirkleatham is falling apart - we have to do something with it."

Councillors voted 9-3 in favour of approval.

A number of Almshouses residents put forward objections to the plans for the Walled Garden project peter reimann

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 21, 2017
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