Page last updated at 18:54 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 19:54 UK

Tyne view tower block is approved

View of the Tyne from the Free Trade Inn's beer garden
Opponents say the building would ruin the area's character

Plans to build an apartment block, which opponents say will ruin one of Newcastle's most celebrated views, have been approved by the government.

Developer Taylor Wimpey wants to erect the 13-storey building near the Free Trade Inn, overlooking the quayside.

Last year the city council rejected the plans, which had been recommended for approval by planning officials.

Now a government planning inspector has overturned the decision ruling that the scheme is sensitive to the area.

Taylor Wimpey called the application, which also includes an office complex, "a positive step towards regeneration of a derelict site".

But last year 1,300 people signed a petition against the plans, saying the building would ruin the area's identity.

Ouseburn councillor Stephen Psallidas said: "Unfortunately, a view doesn't really count for anything in planning terms, unless it's particularly spectacular.

"We argued that this was a spectacular view and an amazing panorama of the Tyne which is now going to be restricted - which is very disappointing."

In a statement, Taylor Wimpey said it was very happy with the planning approval, and feel the inspector's report fairly reflected the design qualities of the development and its relationship with the broader area.

The Free Trade Inn, on the Ouseburn Valley, overlooks the Tyne's regenerated riverside and famous bridges.

Auf Wiedersehen Pet actor Tim Healey championed the pub in the ITV programme "Britain's Favourite View".


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