Plans for 30 new houses on Hebburn engineering plant site

Tharsus Engineering.
Tharsus Engineering.

New homes could be built on part of the footprint of a South Tyneside town’s industrial past, it has emerged.

There was shock when Tharsus Engineering said in 2013 that it was moving more than 40 engineering workers from its plant in Glen Street, Hebburn, to Blyth, Northumberland.

Coun John McCabe says becoming an academy was a retrograde step for St Joseph's.

Coun John McCabe says becoming an academy was a retrograde step for St Joseph's.

It meant staff at Tharsus, which manufactures a wide range of products, including hydrogen energy storage units and electrical vehicle charging points, faced a 38-mile round trip to work.

Now the borough council has received an application from Durham-based Gleeson Developments to build 31 two-storey two, three and four-bedroom semi-detached and detached homes on the vacated land.

When the application comes before the council’s planning committee later this month it will be recommended for approval.

But no work would go ahead before a survey is carried out regarding potential contamination of the site.

And it would be necessary to build a noise barrier between the properties and the nearby Hebburn Metro.

When the company announced its intention to move out of Hebburn two years ago the firm’s chief executive, Brian Palmer, cited the “chaotic nature” of a planned revamp of Hebburn town centre as a factor in the decision.

In 2006/7, the Tharsus site faced an uncertain future as it was in area earmarked for major development but regeneration talks between retail giant Tesco and the council over a revamp of Hebburn town centre collapsed in 2010.

Much has changed in the intervening years, with the regeneration of Hebburn moving on apace and the opening this week of the town’s new £13m library and swimming pool, Hebburn Central.

Coun John McCabe, who represents Hebburn South for Labour, said it was “very sad” that another industrial site had been lost.

He added: “The truth of the matter is that the company left Hebburn because it was offered a financial incentive to move to Blyth that the borough couldn’t match.

“All the political parties are agreed that we need to build more homes and at the end of the day that’s what is going to happen, but it is very sad to see industrial sites being lost, as we have seen in the past with Pyrotenax, Bitumastic and others.” 
A report to the planning committee says: “The proposed development is in close proximity to the Tyne and Wear Metro line and it is inevitable that the Metro line will result in noise levels that may be detrimental to the residential amenities of the occupants in these dwellings nearest to the Metro line, particularly when windows are opened during the night time hours.

“However, it is considered that, on balance, the proposed mitigation measures would result in a development that is reasonably acceptable to the residential amenities of the future occupants of these dwellings.”