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Bulldozer plan for vandal-hit South Shields pub

The Pickwick Arms which has been derelict for more than a decade
The Pickwick Arms which has been derelict for more than a decade

A yob-hit former South Tyneside pub which closed a decade ago is facing last orders after plans for its demolition were approved.

Bulldozers are expected to quickly move in to raze the Pickwick Arms, in Dickens Avenue, Biddick Hall, to the ground.

Council chiefs say the property is surplus to requirements – and have given permission for it to be pulled down.

The go-ahead comes just weeks after a ward councillor confirmed South Tyneside Council was looking at a compulsory purchase order to acquire the building.

Police also confirmed they were concerned about issues around the premises, which has been plagued by vandalism.

Council planners have now granted prior approval – the necessary buildings permission - for work to start.

In her appraisal, case officer Emma Thomas said: “The proposed demolition works are required as the buildings are surplus to requirements and to make way for possible re-development.

“The proposed method of demolition would be appropriate given the scale of the building.

“The proposed method of site restoration would also be acceptable, leaving the site in a tidy condition.”

The council owns the freehold to the land on which the pub stands and has leased the property to borough businessman Jason Singh.

His agent, chartered surveyor Malcolm Holmes, of Sunderland-based ABP Property Consultants, has confirmed negotiations over the site’s future are ongoing.

He has said they have been made complicated by the involvement of three parties – the council, Mr Singh and the Church Commissioners.

It is understood the commissioners may have a stake through restrictions imposed on the land’s potential use.

Mr Holmes believes one option is to build houses with the support of a regulated housing provider, but this may depend on the site’s financial viability.

Under this proposal, Mr Singh would surrender the 99-year lease back to the council which may then look to sell the site to a developer.

Labour ward councillors Anne Walsh and Olive Punchion have previously welcomed demolition plan, would could see the property removed by the end of September.

They say the pub has been a blot on the landscape and a blight on the lives of people living close to it.

There were no public objections to the demolition application.