Flattened ‘war zone’ streets will finally see work start on new homes

An artist's impression of how the homes will look.
An artist's impression of how the homes will look.

A once beleaguered estate in South Tyneside is set for a new era after plans for new homes were given the green light.

A proposal for 35 new homes to be built on the Lakes Estate, in Jarrow, have been approved by South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee.

The Lakes Estate is set to welcome 35 new homes after plans were approved.

The Lakes Estate is set to welcome 35 new homes after plans were approved.

It comes a year after 43 pre-fabricated houses on Eskdale Drive, Coniston Drive and Grasmere Avenue, on the estate, were demolished.

The borough’s independent housing company, South Tyneside Housing Ventures Trust, will work with a contractor to deliver the scheme.

The development will be a mix of two and three-bedroomed houses, two-bedroomed bungalows and apartments.

The properties will all have off-street parking and open plan front gardens.

We’re delighted that the application has been approved

Brian Scott

Brian Scott, company secretary of the Ventures Trust, said: “We’re delighted that the application has been approved.

“The trust was established to build affordable housing in the borough and we are well on track to achieving our vision of delivering 400 new homes in our first five years.

“We will be appointing a contractor imminently and hope to start on site within the next few weeks.”

The homes, which were demolished last year, were initially due to be refurbished as part of Decent Homes work.

However, investigations revealed the condition of the properties to be far worse than first thought.

The new project has been awarded a £700,000 grant from the Homes and Communities Agency.

Coun Allan West, lead member for housing and transport at South Tyneside Council, said: “This is very welcome news.

“Housing has such a major impact on people’s lives and providing quality, affordable homes for rent in the borough is one of our priorities.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the new development take shape.”

The Lakes Estate was described as being like a ‘war zone’ by a resident before long-awaited work to demolish the properties was delivered.

At the time, June Wright said: “We have been in this bungalow now for almost 10 months and there doesn’t seem to be anything being done at all.

“It’s like the forgotten street. There’s boards up on the houses and metal fencing. It looks like a war zone.”

South Tyneside Housing Ventures Trust says it is on target to deliver 400 new homes in its first five years.

In two-and-a-half years, it is delivered 231 homes, including 20 empty houses which have been brought back into occupation.

Another 158 homes are already under construction, or planned for instruction.

New properties will replace prefabs demolished in 2016

New homes are set to be built on the Lakes Estate, where prefabricated homes were demolished last year.

The properties were built at the end of the Second World War, and were expected to last for just 20 years.

However, they were found to be in worse condition than first anticipated, and the decision was made to demolish the 43 homes on Eskdale Drive, Coniston Drive and Grasmere Avenue.

It came after council tenants on the estate had consistently demanded that their prefabricated homes were included in the borough-wide Decent Homes programme.

Contractor Keepmoat eventually started on the site with a view to refurbishing the properties, but surveys found that they were in poor condition, meaning that planned works would take much longer and at a much higher cost than originally budgeted.

Further investigations concluded that bringing the properties up to Decent Homes standard was not economic or affordable.

After the decision was made to demolish them, residents were relocated, with a view to them returning to the estate when the new homes were built.

At the time, Coun Allan West, lead member for housing and transport at South Tyneside Council, said: “These houses were built at the end of the Second World War and were only expected to last 20 years. We know that most people enjoy living on this estate which is why we have offered affected residents the opportunity to return to the new properties which will be built on the site.”