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Local MP launches attack at Newcastle's quayside plans

A Newcastle MP has made a clarion call against Carey Jones Architects' £47 million development proposed for the city's quayside.

Jim Cousins is demanding the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister call in the mixed-use scheme (above) on design grounds, saying its 'massing' is not in keeping with either existing quayside developments or the surrounding Tyne Gorge.

Cousins, who claims the support of local residents, also said the 15-storey project - which won planning permission from Newcastle City Council - does not fit within the existing Terry Farrell & Partners masterplan for the regeneration of the area.He has written to John Prescott asking him to halt the development.

The Labour MP is also taking his campaign to One North East, the local regeneration agency which owns the land, to urge it to rethink. 'The buck stops with them, ' Cousins said. 'I want them to look for a better development that suits the site, one that local residents will be proud of.'

The local branch of English Heritage is also concerned.Although it has decided not to demand a call-in itself, assistant regional director Peter De Lange said the agency would support Cousins at an inquiry.

'This building is going to be pretty grim, ' De Lange said. 'It will get called in if there is general public consensus, and if this happens, then we would certainly let our views be heard.'

But Newcastle City Council's group manager in charge of Urban Design and Conservation, Tony Wyatt, said he believes it will go ahead. 'These objections have already been heard at the planning committee hearings, ' he added.

Carey Jones Architects' project architect Mike Harris said he did not want to get drawn into the local debate. 'We are simply looking forward to getting started on a project that will be to the benefit of the whole community, including many of Mr Cousins' voters, ' he said.

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