Plans are approved to turn former South Tyneside call centre into luxury flats

The Garlands building, South Shields. Picture: TOM BANKS
The Garlands building, South Shields. Picture: TOM BANKS
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Developers have been given the green light to transform a ‘white elephant’ building into 43 luxury riverside apartments.

Plans were submitted earlier this year to turn the former Garlands call centre site, in Long Row, Market Dock, South Shields, into flats.

Developers Keywest Three, based in Maxwell Street, South Shields, aimed to bring life back to the site after buying the building in December.

The company has now been given the official nod from South Tyneside Council to go ahead with the work.

It’s thought builders could be on site within the next month - once routine building regulation work has been passed.

Norman Fada, one of the company’s directors, said: “For years this building has been a white elephant, with many people opposed to it and objecting to it being used by the companies.

“We are absolutely delighted that permission has been granted.

“We were feeling confident as new Government rules mean it’s very unlikely that applications to turn buildings into residential use would be turned down - but still you just never know what can happen, so we didn’t want to get too excited until we had the official go ahead.

“Realistically we could have workers on site within the next three or four weeks, we just have to wait for the building regulations to come back, so hopefully it won’t be too long at all.

Mr Fada says his company has already sealed off the site to keep it safe and the flats - which he describes as Manhattan-style with floor ceiling windows - would be ‘top end’.

He said: “There’s nothing else out there like this. It will be unique. It’s wonderful area, so quiet. There would be parking for the residents who would live there and it would be aimed at top end buyers.

“It would be a secure site, with CCTV and a video entry system.”

Mr Fada previously told the Gazette that all the necessary changes and modifications would be carried out within two years.

He said: “It would realistically be a two-year development.

“We’ve already recently redeveloped Grosvenor House in Grosvenor Road, South Shields, and properties, opposite the Little Italy restaurant in Seaburn, both of these have been recommended for awards.”

Mr Fada is also delighted with the response the development has so far received from the public.

He added: “It just all seems too good to be true, we haven’t had one negative response.

“So many people are pleased that the building will finally be used. There’s been so much positive reaction it’s been brilliant.”