PLANS for a major new supermarket in Hebburn are set to move a set closer to reality next week.
The regeneration of the town centre is moving apace.
The £12m community hub – Hebburn Central – is on course for completion in May.
The two-storey building will include a six-lane swimming pool, a learner pool, fitness suite, sports hall, dance studio, soft play area, library, learning centre and café, as well as meeting rooms and a customer service centre.
And it was recently announced that The Roadhouse pub, next to the shopping centre, is to be demolished and is earmarked for a new housing development.
Now a 1.2-acre site located at the corner of Glen Street and Station Road – across from the Glen Medical Centre – is about to be deemed “no longer required for housing purposes”.
Asda owns the land where the other shops in the town are and the centre is a disgrace.
Until a few years ago council maisonettes known as Glen Court and Kensington Court were situated on the land.
But members of the council’s decision-making cabinet will next week be recommended to appropriate the land for planning purposes.
It is identified for food store use, with the council believing the site can be transferred from housing into retail land.
Although a planning application has yet to be submitted, a developer – as yet to be revealed – has been selected and discussions on a new store have “substantially progressed”.
Coun John McCabe, who represents Hebburn South for Labour, says the new development will “create competition, increase choice and definitely bring people into the town”.
He added: “I also hope it ensures that the retail competition in the town ups their game.
“Asda owns the land where the other shops in the town are and the centre is a disgrace. We are committed to improving the public realm in the town centre, the cobbles, the footpaths, the lighting, but it’s up to Asda and the other shops to play their part in bringing the town centre up to a 21st century standard.”
In a report, to be presented to the cabinet next Wednesday by Coun John Anglin, the council’s lead member for regeneration and economy, members will be told there is sufficient housing in the town centre to warrant the loss of the site to retail.
The report says: “It is acknowledged that any proposal to construct retail facilities on this site would represent a departure from the development plan, because the site lies outside of the primary shopping area.
“However, the evidence is that the site is both viable and deliverable for redevelopment for retail use.
“The selected developer has demonstrated a continued commitment to redevelop the site during contractual negotiations and the site investigation period.
“Although a planning application is yet to be submitted, the developer has engaged in substantial pre-application discussions, with a scheme for a new store substantially progressed.”
The cabinet is to meet at South Shields Town Hall on Wednesday from 4pm.