A bid to build a mixed-use building housing a new bar and restaurant at the heart of a seaside hotspot has been thrown out by a planning inspector. 

The proposal to redevelop disused land at the end of North Terrace, Seaham, also included the opportunity for new flats to be built in the three-storey building. 

However, the planning application was refused by Durham County Council’s planning committee in July 2023 following concerns from residents that the building would be too big. 

It is the second time the application has been dismissed at appeal by a planning inspector after the proposal was initially refused in 2021.

The Northern Echo: A CGI image of how the new building would have looked on North Terrace, SeahamA CGI image of how the new building would have looked on North Terrace, Seaham (Image: Handout)

Located near the Tommy statue, residents said there is no need for another bar or restaurant in the area, and instead called for the land to be converted into a green space/ park-style area similar to the one on the opposite end of the terrace. 

Speaking at a meeting in July 2023, Seaham councilor David McKenna praised the recent regeneration of Seaham but voted against the scheme. He said: “This does not sit with me well at all, it’s completely out of character. We need to consider the impact it will have on residents; it’s going to be huge.”

But David Gill, the applicant, said more than 60 jobs would be created at the site, which would “positively contribute to a vibrant promenade which offers a wide variety of leisure and recreational facilities”. 

Mr Gill alleged the reason for refusal was “unjustified” despite being recommended for approval by Durham County Council’s planning officers. 

Recommended reading: 

Don't miss out on the latest news and stories. Subscribe to the The Northern Echo now.

However, the planning inspector ruled the new building would be a “visually dominant and incongruous addition to the street scene” that would “contrast uncharacteristically with the prevailing pattern of development in the area.”

They added: “It would also sit tightly to the road, with its imposing nature uncomfortably reducing the spaciousness. I do not find evidence of sufficient public benefits to outweigh the harm to the conservation area.”

Mr Gill was contacted for comment.