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End in sight for South Tyneside tower block

Westmorland Court
Westmorland Court

Demolition of an outdated tower block in South Tyneside is due to get underway in the New Year.

Eleven-storey Westmorland Court, in Hebburn, will be pulled down after being decommissioned last summer.

The high rise block, which consisted of 133 flats, would have required millions of pounds’ worth of investment to bring it up to Decent Homes standard as well as installing additional fire safety measures.

South Tyneside Council’s Cabinet made the decision in February 2014 to relocate the 126 tenants then living in the building before demolishing it.

Once the block is demolished, the site will be soiled, seeded and maintained before being redeveloped as part of the regeneration of the town centre.

Coun Allan West, lead member for housing and regeneration at South Tyneside Council, said: “This block was built in the seventies and the design and structure was outdated.

“Bringing it up to standard would have run into millions of pounds.

“Demolition will mark a major milestone in the regeneration of Hebburn town centre.”

North-East based MGL Group has been appointed demolition contractor following a tender process.

Demolition is scheduled to take around eight months.

In July, the building was used by fire crews to test a high-tech device that can cut through concrete and steel to fight a blaze.

Although the exercise had been planned for 18 months, the fire service says it had special significance in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in London the previous month.