Church hall could be flattened to make way for bungalows

COMING DOWN ... St James Parish Hall is to be flattened to make way for new bungalows.

COMING DOWN ... St James Parish Hall is to be flattened to make way for new bungalows.

A HISTORIC church hall in South Tyneside is set to be flattened to make way for bungalows.

St James Parish Hall, in Derwent Avenue, off Finchale Road, Hebburn, has been part of community life for about 60 years.

Originally launched by the late Father James Walsh, it was a place of worship, before the creation of St James RC Church, in Mill Lane, Hebburn.

The hall, owned by the Catholic diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, has been used by dozens of community groups down the years.

But now there are plans to demolish the hall and create a dozen bungalows, with a new access road, associated parking and related boundary work.

A planning application is likely to go to the next South Tyneside Council planning committee in mid-February.

Coun John McCabe, for Hebburn South ward, said: “Known as Derwent Road Hall, it has been part of the community for about 60 years and was used to say mass before St James Church was opened.

“In latter years, it has been used by fitness classes and other groups.

“There were plans a few years back to base a health centre there, but that came to naught.

“But the bungalows planned for the land are just the type of accommodation we need in Hebburn and I should imagine most members in the town would support the scheme.”

A final mass will be celebrated at St James Parish Hall on Saturday, February 22, at noon, followed by a buffet.

The service will be led by Father Martin Morris, parish priest of St Aloysius RC Church and St James RC Church, Hebburn.

Ian Prescott, Land and Partnership’s director at Keepmoat, said: “The proposals include 12 two-bedroom high-quality bungalows, which are designed in a courtyard style, providing safe and secure housing for older people. The homes will achieve Level 3 of the Government‘s Code for Sustainable Homes, making them greener than is required by building regulations.

The homes will be provided through ISOS Housing and will be ideal for local people, providing easy access to local shops and bus routes. If the plans are approved, it is expected that work will commence on site at the end of March.”

Twitter: @terrykelly16




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