Bulldozers go to work on demolishing former South Shields school
The partial demolition of a derelict South Tyneside school is expected to be completed early in the New Year '“ bringing closer its possible redevelopment for housing.
Bulldozers are close to finishing the first phase of clearing the former Brinkburn Comprehensive School in South Shields.
Blocks B, C and D of the Harton Lane building, which closed around a decade ago, have almost been erased.
It is understood council chiefs are seeking further funding to demolish a smaller remaining section, possibly in the next financial year.
Brinkburn Community Association, which includes a swimming pool, remains open on the site, and the sports fields are untouched.
The future of the centre, operated by Brinkburn Charitable Interest Organisation, is not thought to be in doubt.
But fears persist about the possible loss of pitches used extensively for football and rugby, and a running track.
Labour ward councillor Jim Foreman fears the playing fields will eventually be sold off for housing.
He said: “I think housing will eventually be there. It’s just a matter of when.
“It would impact on hundreds of people – there’s probably around 200 girls alone who play there in 17 teams.
“On a personal basis and as a ward councillor, I can understand the real need for housing, but you don’t want to lose the fields.
“Lots of teams use the fields, and I can understand them being worried because they all love to play at Brinkburn.
“They are all worried. They don’t know where they would go.
“Ultimately, it is the council’s responsibility to rehouse these teams and to find somewhere else for them to play.”
South Tyneside Council has carried out a strategic land review to identify sites which could be suitable and sustainable for potential development.
A draft local plan on which development would be based would see residents and any community groups fully consulted.
A South Tyneside Council spokesman said of the demolition: “This is a complex project, made more so because only part of the building is being demolished.
“The soft strip took slightly longer than anticipated due to quantities of asbestos.
“Demolition of blocks C and D on the site is progressing well and is scheduled for completion in January.”