Protests at Yarm car park plan

9:19pm Sunday 6th July 2014

PLANS to build a car park behind a pub on the banks of the River Tees has prompted a host of objections.

Stockton Borough Council wants to create 40-spaces on land behind the Blue Bell, on the Eaglescliffe side of the river, near Yarm.

But the family who own the land have vowed to gate it off with metal barriers after growing frustrated at a lack of consultation.

The council has pledged to provide more long-term parking after the controversial introduction of pay-and-display parking on nearby Yarm High Street.

The application will be considered by the council’s planning committee this Wednesday, at 1.30pm in Stockton Central Library.

Safety fears have been raised that the gradient is too steep and the access - 2.7metres at its narrowest point - is too small.

There have also been objections based on the fact that about 250 scouts use the site and a boat shed as a base for canoeing and kayaking on the river.

But the most strident protests have come from the Emadi family. Mr Som Emadi said he was the leaseholder of the Blue Bell and the proposed car park encroached on its land as well as other land owned by the family.

The Emadis, who own the Da Vinci and Puple Pig restaurants in Yarm, employ about 50 people.

In a letter to Stockton Borough Council, Mr Mamad Emadi, who is originally from Iran but has lived in the area for 40 years, said: “We feel very strongly that we have been prejudiced by Stockton Borough Council due to our race and religion since nobody from Stockton Borough Council is even prepared to meet us on the site, despite numerous requests.”

However, he later withdrew his remarks, saying it was born of frustration at a lack of consultation.

A council spokesman stressed: "Mr Emadi has not been treated any differently to anyone else who objects to planning applications.”

Other objections were dealt with in the planning committee report and planning officers recorded that the Head of Technical Services had no objection on safety grounds.

On the issue of ownership, the report said: “Objections raised in respect to the application site being on land of others is noted. However, it is considered that this does not affect the suitability of the scheme, only the ability to deliver it.”

The plan is recommended for approval.

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