Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Distorted Viewpoint

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Distorted Viewpoint

Article excerpt

After working in planning for many years, it strikes me that the public, especially those in Middlesbrough, have a distorted view of what the council can actually do.

Each local authority works within tight planning guidelines. It is through this national policy guidance that they have to work, with very little room for manoeuvre.

The Cleveland Scientific site is a prime example. The building is not afforded any protection in a planning sense. It is not a listed building, it is not a scheduled monument and it is not in a conservation area like parts of Linthorpe or Nunthorpe.

If it were, the council would have the authority to refuse the demolition or to, at least, have a greater control over the development of the site.

If the council were to refuse a planning application to demolish the building, the land owner would immediately appeal. The council would lose the appeal and would then have to pay costs which come from the council tax payers.

Similarly national planning guidance states that if a garden fence/wall that is fronting a highway is to be replaced by a structure of different material or greater than one metre high a planning application is needed.

This is what happened on Acklam Road when a landowner changed the wall fronting the road.

Historically the planners in Middlesbrough have made some horrendous decisions on demolitions without interference from London such as the McDonalds building on Grange Road, the baths on Gilkes Street and the Exchange to name a few.

However the Infirmary and the Cleveland Scientific highlight today how toothless the local planning decision making is.

MR SMITH, Acklam, Middlesbrough

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WHILE the makers of the movie Atonement are busy converting the old Coatham Hotel ballroom to look like a bombed out building, it occurred to me that there is a ready made location just down the road which was formerly called Jumpin Jacks (the Odeon) in Middlesbrough. …

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