'War zone' South Tyneside estate finally set for demolition

Pre-fabricated homes in Eskdale Drive will be demolished in the months to come.
Pre-fabricated homes in Eskdale Drive will be demolished in the months to come.

Long-awaited work to demolish decades-old pre-fabricated homes on a 'war zone' South Tyneside estate will finally get under way next week.

Residents living in council-owned properties in Eskdale Drive, Jarrow, have been left in limbo for months while they waited for the wrecking ball to swing into action.

Councillor Allan West has backed demolition plans for the Lakes Estate in Jarrow.

Councillor Allan West has backed demolition plans for the Lakes Estate in Jarrow.

They had been due to have their homes revamped as part of the Decent Homes Standard Programme but a survey carried out by contractors Keepmoat found the properties - which were built at the end of the Second World War and were expected to last for twenty years - were in worse condition than first anticipated.

Decision-makers in South Tyneside Council's Cabinet agreed last year to demolish the 43 prefabricated houses on Eskdale Drive, Coniston Drive and Grasmere Avenue on the Lakes Estate and rebuild, with residents relocated in the meantime.

A total of 43 homes will be demolished during a phased programme taking place over the coming months.

The first of three phases will see 18 properties and all the garages behind Eskdale Drive in Jarrow demolished.

South Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Homes have been working with the affected tenants to find alternative accommodation and are also working with seven residents who bought their homes to buy back those properties.

June Wright, 65, who was moved out of her three-bedroomed property in Eskdale Drive to a bungalow further up the road, said recently that she felt like the street had been 'forgotten' by council chiefs.

She said: "When we were moved out we were told we’d be out for 15 weeks and then we would be able to return home after they carried out the upgrades.

“Then we were told we couldn’t move back because they were knocking them down.

“We have been in this bungalow now for almost 10 months and there doesn’t seem to be anything being done at all.

“It’s like the forgotten street. There’s boards up on the houses and metal fencing. It looks like a war zone.”

But now fresh hope will be soon rise out of the rubble for residents.

Councillor Allan West, Lead Member for Housing and Transport, said: “These houses were built at the end of the Second World War and were only expected to last 20 years.

“We know that most people enjoy living on this estate which is why we have offered affected residents the opportunity to return to the new properties which will be built on the site.”

The first phase of the demolition work is expected to take around six weeks.