Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sally Army in Trouble over 'Eyesore' Hall; It Looks like a Factory, Angry Neighbours Say

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sally Army in Trouble over 'Eyesore' Hall; It Looks like a Factory, Angry Neighbours Say

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Black

SALVATION Army chiefs have angered neighbours and fallen foul of council planners over a pounds 465,000 refurbishment of their meeting hall in a North East town.

Officers of the leading Christian charity are under fire over the appearance and height of the extended building in the centre of Bedlington, Northumberland.

A number of people living nearby claim the revamped hall is an eyesore and out of keeping with its surroundings - and Wansbeck Council planners say the extension has been built a metre higher than it should have been.

The council issued the Salvation Army with a stop notice requiring work to be halted after concerns were raised about the height of the new pitched roof.

The notice was subsequently lifted but the SA has now had to submit a new planning application for the completed extension to be allowed to remain as it is.

Councillors will decide next month whether to approve the retrospective application or reject it - which could mean the height of the building having to be lowered.

The controversy has marred tomorrow's official reopening of the hall, which has been extended to provide improved facilities for the local community.

Neighbours say the use of industrialstyle metal cladding, as well as brickwork, on the extension makes it look like a factory, which is out of character with the surrounding residential area.

Yesterday Andy Garrow, 72, whose home in Hartford Road East faces the front of the building, said: "We think it looks terrible and some people have said it is a monstrosity.

It has been built too high and the use of all this sheet metal cladding makes it look like a factory.

"We want to see the height come down and a brickwork finish, because at the moment it is like the house that Jack built."

Brian Sykes, whose garden in Hartford Court faces the rear of the revamped hall, added: "We have got nothing against the Salvation Army and approve of their good work, but we want a reasonable building that is sympathetic to the area. …

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