Talks go on over future of axed college site

FOR SALE ... South Tyneside College's former Hebburn campus in Mill Lane.
FOR SALE ... South Tyneside College's former Hebburn campus in Mill Lane.

TALKS are ongoing over the future of South Tyneside College’s axed Hebburn campus.

Education bosses say they are still in discussions with a housing developer over the Mill Lane site, almost two years after it was put up for sale.

FOR SALE ... Hebburn College

FOR SALE ... Hebburn College

The outdated complex, parts of which are about 60 years old, which faced an annual maintenance bill of £500,000, closed in summer 2011.

Hundreds of students were transferred to the South Shields campus in St George’s Avenue, Westoe.

The 21.8-acre site, more than half of which is classed as green belt land, is being marketed by BNP Paribas Real Estate.

Marketing literature describes the brownfield area of the site as consisting of “a series of buildings dating from the 1950s to 1970s, with a floor area of approximately 72,000 sq ft”.

In August last year, it was revealed that homes could be built on the site, after a housing developer expressed an interest.

Lindsey Whiterod, principal and chief executive at the college, said talks are still ongoing.

“We are currently in discussions with a housing developer over the sale of our Hebburn site,” she said.

“Any buyer will be required to adhere to the local authority’s strict planning guidelines.

“We will continue to work closely with the necessary parties throughout any sale process.”

Hebburn councillors gave their backing, in principle, to the planned housing scheme when it was first suggested.

Coun John McCabe, vice-chairman of Hebburn community area forum, said at the time: “Sadly, what was the former Hebburn Technical College, and later South Tyneside College, had run its course as an educational establishment.

“There is always a need for good-quality housing in Hebburn, and this will complement other new housing schemes in the town, including those at Argyle Street and the former Baker Perkins site.

“I should think the Hebburn members would support housing on the site, when and if the scheme gets to the planning stage.”

Some alternative uses for the site have been discovered in the meantime, however.

The Gazette revealed in December last year that the buildings and surrounding area are being used for training purposes by Northumbria Police and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

And in January this year, the college estates department held a furniture sale in the gymnasium, offering used office and classroom furniture and teaching equipment.

Twitter: @shieldsgazedu