Dragon rumours slain: Council rules out plans for seafront hotel on South Shields playing fields

The Dragon playing fields and car park
The Dragon playing fields and car park

Council chiefs in South Tyneside have quashed rumours that there are plans to sell off seafront land for development.

There were fears that the piece of land, known as The Dragon, which runs between Bents Park Road and Sea Road on South Shields seafront, was due to be sold.

The site, which is used by footballers and also as an overflow car park during the summer, is currently accessible by the public.

However, over the last few weeks there’s been speculation that the grassed area is to be sold off to developers, with ideas to create a hotel in mind.

But Town Hall officials have moved to reassure people The Dragon is not for sale.

One resident, who lives in the Westoe Crown Village estate opposite the field, told the Gazette: “The rumours have been rife on the estate for the last few weeks now.

“Obviously the people living right on the front on Bents Park Road are rather worried that the sale would affect their property values, as any buildings created will potentially spoil their sea views.

“I think their will be a few sighs of relief now that it’s been confirmed there’s no truth in the rumour.

“It would have been such a shame anyway if it was sold off.

“The Dragon is popular on the weekends with the football lads, there’s always kids playing there and people enjoy walking their dogs, especially when they can’t take them on the beach during the summer months.”

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “We heard that the land was worth more than £15m and that a luxury hotel was to be built there.

“Although it’s a popular car parking area in the summer, we were told that a hotel would bring in more revenue, so it would be more beneficial long term.

“I’m glad there’s no truth in the claims. It would have been terrible. Our seafront in South Shields is beautiful as it is.”

In 2007, controversial plans were floated to turn the land at nearby Gypsies Green Stadium into a plush 120-bed hotel and luxury conference centre.

However, this led to a 9,000-strong petition opposing the scheme, with many saying the build would affect the landscape and views from neighbouring properties.

Originally built in the 1960s, the stadium and its track have been used by thousands of athletes over the years, and is still used as a training base for South Shields Harriers and Athletics Club.

But a spokesman for South Tyneside Council have confirmed that the rumours are untrue.

The spokesman added: “We can confirm that there is no truth in the rumour to sell the piece of land known locally as The Dragon off Sea Road and Bents Park Road.”