SOUTH Tyneside Council is on collision course with property owners over its multi-million-pound plans to push ahead with transformation of a rundown area of South Tyneside.
The authority is poised to use compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) to acquire properties in the southern end of Frederick Street at Laygate in South Shields.
But some property owners are expected to oppose the order – which will inevitably mean an independent public inquiry being held in the borough next spring.
The £30m scheme, which will create 222 family homes at the new Trinity South neighbourhood over a five to six-year period, is being developed by Keepmoat Homes in partnership with South Tyneside Council and the Homes and Communities Agency.
The first phase of construction is centred on the south western corner of the site, near Reed and Eldon Streets, but the partnership is also making progress on plans for future phases.
That includes a 5.3-hectare development area incorporating the former Circatex factory and the southern half of Frederick Street – which is earmarked for demolition.
Although the council has acquired a number of properties in the street, a significant number of landowners have yet to strike a deal.
And next Wednesday members of the council’s decision-making cabinet will be recommended to push ahead with the use of CPOs to acquire the remaining sites at a Town Hall meeting.
Meanwhile, the council is braced for objections to the orders and expects a public inquiry to be held to resolve the dispute.
If the authority’s argument wins the day, it is hoped the area can be cleared before the end of next year – with building work starting early in 2015.
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “The council has been talking with property owners and tenants over the past three years, and we have made a lot of progress in securing properties and assembling the site so that development can move ahead.
“We would prefer to secure the remaining properties by agreement with the owners, but in some cases it may prove necessary to use compulsory purchase powers to make regeneration a reality.
“We will continue to support businesses with relocation, as well as helping tenants who in some cases are living above units that are in very poor condition.”
The scheme will create a new landmark apartment building in a prominent location near Western Approach, as well as a unique linear park with play facilities.