Fears over state of ex-college campus

CONCERNS ... Coun John McCabe at the former South Tyneside College site in Hebburn.
CONCERNS ... Coun John McCabe at the former South Tyneside College site in Hebburn.

FEARS have been raised about an axed college site in South Tyneside more than two years after it closed.

The Hebburn campus of South Tyneside College shut in the summer of 2011.

Outdated, and with an annual maintenance bill of £500,000, college bosses decided to close the 60-year-old Mill Lane site and transfer hundreds of students to the South Shields campus in St George’s Avenue, Westoe.

But more than two years on, talks are still ongoing with a potential housing developer. In the meantime, local councillors are worried about the state of the site.

Coun John McCabe, vice-chairman of Hebburn Community Area Forum, said: “As time goes on, there’s a danger the college could look like an eyesore and there is always the potential for vandalism.

“It’s right on the edge of Gateshead authority and is one of the first things visitors see as they drive into Hebburn.

“I don’t think the Hebburn members have objections to housing on the land, as this will help attract more business into the town. But I would like to see the site’s future resolved, before it deteriorates.”

Since it closed, the 21.8-acre college site has been used for training purposes by both Northumbria Police and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

At the start of the year, the college’s estates department sold off used office and classroom furniture and teaching equipment.

Lindsey Whiterod, college chief executive, said: “We are progressing in our discussions with a developer over the sale of the site.

“Any buyer will be required to adhere to the local authority’s planning guidelines. We will continue to work closely with the parties throughout any sale process.”

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