Bid to ease fears over flats plan for South Shields care home

WORRIED ...  Alison Guthrie, right, with other residents concerned at a bid to convert St Michael's View Care Home into flats.
WORRIED ... Alison Guthrie, right, with other residents concerned at a bid to convert St Michael's View Care Home into flats.

A BUSINESSWOMAN is convinced she can overturn the objections of a South Tyneside community over plans to convert a scandal-hit former borough care home into rented apartments.

Browns Lettings Agency has submitted an application to the borough council to change St Michael’s View, in Westoe, South Shields, into a house of multiple occupation.

If approved, the building would be sectioned off into eight self-contained houses – each with four to 11 bedrooms.

Neighbours say they are concerned about the type of tenant who could be moving into the building and over parking issues caused by as many as 80 new residents.

But Kerry Brown, who runs the company with her husband Paul, said the plan was for an upmarket development for professionals and mature overseas students attending the Marine School at South Tyneside College. Now she is planning to convince the local community to support the project and has issued an invitation for residents to attend an open night at St Michael’s from 6pm on Monday.

Mrs Brown and her husband will be on hand to answer questions regarding plans for the complex.

She said: “We will be open and honest and aim to assure people and get their support. We live in the area, our children go to school in the area. We would do nothing to make the area worse, we want to improve it.

“There will be copies of the full planning application for people who come to look at on the night.

“We have sent letters to people in the area asking them to log onto examine the planning application online.”

Scandal-hit St Michael’s care home closed its doors for good in October 2013. The building was at the centre of a long-running police investigation after the death of 80-year-old resident Joyce Wordingham in February 2010.

Officers also investigated the deaths of 15 other residents at the home, which was under the management of the now-defunct Southern Cross at the time.

South Tyneside Council has confirmed that a planning application has been received to change the use of the vacant former nursing home.

Mrs Brown says anyone with concerns can contact her on 455 9617.

Twitter @shieldsgazpaul