An eyesore and yob-hit derelict South Tyneside pub could be pulled down under new plans - and houses built in its place.
Demolition of the Pickwick Arms, in Dickens Avenue, Biddick Hall - dubbed a blot on the landscape by a local councillor - is earmarked to start next month, if prompt approval is given by council planning chiefs.
The move comes just weeks after ward councillor Anne Walsh confirmed South Tyneside Council was looking at a compulsory purchase order for the building and weeks after local residents called for action over the building
The pub closed around a decade ago and has become an attraction for vandals and youngsters, with police also recently voicing their concerns.
The council owns the freehold for the land and has leased the property to borough businessman Jason Singh.
He has now submitted a demolition application through his agent, chartered surveyor Malcolm Holmes, of Sunderland-based ABP Property Consultants.
Mr Holmes said negotiations over the land’s future had been made complicated by the involvement of three parties - the the council, Mr Singh and the Church Commissioners, who may also have a stake through restrictions imposed on the land’s potential use.
Mr Holmes added: “Contractors are ready to demolish but it will be at least a year before we have a scheme that everyone is happy with.
“After that, it could be another six months for planning permission to be granted and even longer before we see anything new coming out of the ground.”
Mr Holmes met with the council a number of weeks ago to discuss options.
He said one could be for Mr Singh to surrender the 99 year lease back to the council, which may then look to sell the site to a developer.
If approved, demolition is expected to be completed by the end of September.
Coun Walsh and fellow ward Labour ward councillor Olive Punchion welcomed the demolition plan and the prospect of new housing.
She said: “I’m very, very happy that permission is being sought for the pub to be demolished. It’s been a real blot on the landscape and residents have had years of problems.
“It’s a nice area and I would welcome affordable housing being built, or even bungalows.”
Coun Punchion said: “It is good news, as I do feel sorry for the people whose homes are near the pub. I hope it is demolished and it would be good to see housing in its place.”
At June’s West Shields, Cleadon and East Boldon Community Area Forum, it was revealed that barriers to prevent trespassing had been ripped from the pub’s door and windows.
With local youngsters being blamed, police also said they planned to contact the families of 20 suspects.