A FAMOUS Victorian church in South Tyneside is set to be auctioned off for almost £300,000, it was revealed today.
St Andrew’s Church, which cuts an imposing figure at Hebburn riverside, will go under the hammer at the Newcastle Marriott Hotel, Gosforth Park, Newcastle, on February 28.
The news comes after recent plans by Jarrow Brewery to set up a new brewing plant at the Grade II listed building ended in failure, following a planning wrangle with South Tyneside Council, which owns the former place of worship.
Built by famous Victorian shipbuilding magnate, Andrew Leslie, one half of the famous Hawthorn Leslie Shipyard company, the building has been used as office accommodation and as a joiners’ workshop in recent years.
But now cash-strapped South Tyneside Council aims to sell off the church, which includes its iconic spire and a former church hall, at the junction of Church Street and Ellison Street.
Reacting to the news, Coun Richard Porthouse, a Hebburn North ward member, which includes Hebburn riverside, and chairman of Hebburn community area forum, said: “With the austerity measures the council is suffering, we have to get money from all over the place, and the council is looking to sell all sorts off.
“I hope St Andrew’s Church goes to the right person, perhaps to a developer who wants to create luxury flats, and that the plans will enhance the riverside area.”
Estate agent Andrew Craig, of Victoria Road West, Hebburn, is marketing the church, which was built in 1872 in the gothic style.
The building retains some of its stained glass windows and includes a pitched Welsh slate roof.
A spokesman for Andrew Craig said: “The property is a well-known landmark in Hebburn, situated within close proximity to the town centre and Hebburn Village and is served by the nearby Metro station.”
The spokesman added: “Rarely does a property of this size and architectural design, which has a historical link to Andrew Leslie shipbuilders on the River Tyne, become available.”
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “We can confirm that St Andrew’s Church on Ellison Street, Hebburn, will be offered for sale by auction on February 28.”
The guide price for St Andrew’s Church and church hall at next month’s auction is £299,950.
More details are available from estate agent Andrew Craig on 428 1428.