Plans axed for dementia care home on South Shields estate over neighbours’ fears

The entrance to Westoe Crown Village in South Shields.
The entrance to Westoe Crown Village in South Shields.
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A housing estate has turned down an offer from a care firm to buy land which could have seen a dementia home build among houses.

But the plan could be resurrected as the company behind the proposal pledges to speak to families who would live on its doorstep.

The land near to the pit head had been earmarked for development as a care home.

The land near to the pit head had been earmarked for development as a care home.

Crown Care had made an offer for a communal section of Westoe Crown Village, near where the pit head once stood, following discussions with a number of developers.

Now the directors of the South Shields estate have said the offer of £25,000 made for the land – valued at £4,000 – has been declined after listening to residents’ concerns.

A letter sent to householders by the Westoe Crown Community Trust states: “This is due to feedback and objections received from trust members and the directors feel any further efforts to consult members could lead to heightened tensions, more ill feeling and uncertainty.”

The plan was centred around a section of land off Sea Winnings Way, where the head of Westoe Colliery once stood and would have created around 100 jobs.

This is due to feedback and objections received from trust members and the directors feel any further efforts to consult members could lead to heightened tensions, more ill feeling and uncertainty.

Westoe Crown Community Trust

The two-storey building and sensory garden would have offered residential care for elderly people with dementia and also offered short term respite services.

A spokesman for Crown Care, which runs homes with around 70 ensuite rooms and assisted living flats alongside them, said: “We are disappointed at the decision to decline our offer and initial proposal.

“Crown Care prides itself on building quality care facilities to the highest specification where residents and guests can enjoy home comforts in the best possible caring environment.

“Crown Care would be happy to meet with residents to discuss their concerns and work with them to create a development befitting the community.”

Had a deal been reached, the trust would have put in a planning application to South Tyneside Council for the home.

Another letter to residents said the discussions followed on from concerns about the state of the land in question, which then led to a clear up by the British Coal Board, with inquiries then made to the council about possible uses for the plot.

Directors say the development would have brought a cash injection into the estate, with the responsibility for the upkeep of the nearby embankment, which amounts to up to £4,000 a year, would have also been passed on, freeing up funds to care for the area and a reduction in service charges.

A pre-application design drafted up for the site, called Crown Point by the Lahdar Group-owned developer, said the home would help meet the housing demand for people with dementia in South Tyneside.

Concerns raised by residents included the building being “crammed” into a small piece of land and that the plans were “a mess”, exacerbation of parking issues and the shortsightedness of selling off green space.

Others said it would make use of an area which looks an eyesore.

The directors who lead the trust said: “We would also like to now take the opportunity to advise that whilst we understand the proposal was not one which some of you may have wished for or wanted to see but to advise you that we felt that it was correct to present it to yourselves and not make such an important decision on your behalf.

“As such the directors have listened to the feedback to date and will decline the offer.

“Westoe Crown Village has the potential to develop in so many ways and key to that is having an active and engaged community.

“The directors are working to achieve this and working incredibly hard to do so.

Westoe Crown Village

Westoe Crown Village

“By putting the offer to you we have continued the engagement, listened to you as residents and things are progressing based on feedback received.”

At a general meeting to be held in July, a vote of confidence will be held for the directors, along with a look at the annual accounts and directors’ reports.