Apartment block plans approved for derelict care home site

Former residential home Bryden Court in Galsworthy Road, Biddick Hall,
Former residential home Bryden Court in Galsworthy Road, Biddick Hall,
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A FORMER South Tyneside care home is set to be given a new lease of life after falling into disuse and becoming a magnet for fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour.

The vacant Bryden Court Nursing Home in South Shields is set to be turned into an apartment block made up of 16 two-bedroom flats and six three-bedroom ones.

Councillor Anne Walsh.

Councillor Anne Walsh.

Members of South Tyneside Council’s planning committee this week rubber-stamped an application by South Shields-based NorFad Developments for consent to convert the Galsworthy Road building.

Coun Anne Walsh, a ward member for Biddick and All Saints, enthusiastically endorsed the application.

She said: “Bryden Court has been empty for eight or nine years and has attracted a lot of anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping, so it is great news that it is now going to be put to good use.

“I have looked at other developments the applicant has been involved with in the town, and they are all very sympathetic and good buildings.”

Former residential home Bryden Court in Galsworthy Road, Biddick Hall,

Former residential home Bryden Court in Galsworthy Road, Biddick Hall,

Some 77 letters had been sent to surrounding properties informing them of the application, but no representations, either in support or against it, were received in return.

That’s a marked contrast to the response triggered by another bid for planning permission five years ago.

Back in 2010, Four Seasons Health Care, the building’s owner at the time, applied to create 41 assisted-living units for recovering alcohol and drug addicts.

That led to an outcry against the proposal by residents of the town’s Biddick Hall estate.

Former residential home Bryden Court in Galsworthy Road, Biddick Hall,

Former residential home Bryden Court in Galsworthy Road, Biddick Hall,

The council’s planning committee rejected the controversial bid on the grounds that the home was too close to residential amenities – and because it would increase fear of crime.

Coun Olive Punchion, one of the protesters, said at the time that the decision was “what the people of Biddick Hall wanted”, adding: “There’s been a huge protest about it, and that is what has done it. There were hundreds of letters and petitions.

“They’ll have to find something else to do with the building now and we’ll get a chemist or health centre, which we all want. It would be lovely.”

The new application has proved much less controversial.

A report to the committee said: “The site is allocated for housing, and the proposal is considered acceptable in terms of its layout and design.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul