THE future of a large former industrial site in South Tyneside hangs in the balance.
On behalf of land owners, engineering and electronics giant Siemens, commercial property agents Rapleys is marketing the 25.3-acre site off Victoria Road West, Hebburn, which was once occupied by a testing station and the iconic Clothier laboratory.
Although the land was previously designated for industrial use, Coun Eddie McAtominey, for the Hebburn South ward, said he would like the site used for housing.
Coun McAtominey said: “I don’t think Hebburn members have any hard and fast views on this, but, speaking personally, I think it would make a good site for housing.
“People in Victoria Road West lived opposite the testing station for years, but it was a ‘clean’ industry.
“It’s a very large site and I think it would be appropriate for a housing development.”
Coun McAtominey this week also welcomed the news that a housing developer has bought the axed Hebburn campus of South Tyneside College in nearby Mill Lane, which it is hoped could help attract a supermarket retailer to the run-down town centre.
The testing station on the Victoria Road West site was demolished two years ago, while the Clothier laboratory was bulldozed in early 2013.
Opened by then Technology Minister, Tony Benn, in 1970, the huge grey laboratory building dominated part of the Hebburn skyline for more than 40 years.
Previously owned by the Blyth-based National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec), the complex was once the only high-voltage testing site of its kind in the UK, carrying out work for the National Grid and other network operators.
Narec closed the laboratory after it made losses and the site was later taken over by Siemens, which is now considering how to dispose of the large site.
A spokesman for Siemens said: “Siemens is evaluating the land, which formerly accommodated Siemens’ British Short-Testing Station at Victoria Road in Hebburn.
“Discussions are taking place, but no decision has been made on the future of the land.”