Fascinating time-lapse drone footage shows demolition of Hebburn's Westmorland Court

New footage has captured the demolition of one of South Tyneside best-known tower blocks.

Thursday, 27th December 2018, 9:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 8:58 pm
Westmorland Court

Drone video shows the careful phase-by-phase dismantling of 11-storey Westmorland Court, in Hebburn.

Demolition of the 28-metre high building was completed in November and the site is now being cleared, soiled and seeded.

Demolition starts

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The footage shows the block being brought down floor by floor with the aid of a high-reach demolition excavator machine.

Coun Mark Walsh, Lead Member for Housing and Transport, said: "This is quite something to watch.

"This video captures eight months of work to bring down this building safely and it’s fascinating seeing the process happen.

"Westmorland Court was a familiar landmark in the town but there were concerns about both its outdated structure and health and safety aspects that would have required considerable updating, so the decision was made to demolish it.

The demolition is complete

"Providing modern, good quality housing for our residents is one of our priorities and these flats simply no longer made the grade."

The tower block, which consisted of 133 flats, was decommissioned in 2017. It 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.

Speaking on behalf of the three Hebburn North ward councillors, Coun Richard Porthouse said: "This is a real milestone in the regeneration of the town centre.

"I’d like to thank everyone involved in this challenging project, including staff from the council and contractors MGL for a smooth and safe operation.

"The site is now clear and ready for redevelopment."

The process, which took around eight months, was carried out by North-East based contractor MGL Group.

Chris Little, MGL Demolition Contract Manager, said: "MGL Demolition is delighted to be working in partnership with South Tyneside Council to undertake the demolition of Westmorland Court. Our work has been undertaken in phases, beginning initially with asbestos removal and soft strip, followed by demolition.

"As the block of flats was 28m high, the demolition process was carried out on a floor by floor basis and has included the use of a high reach demolition excavator machine. This ensures a safe and controlled process of demolition, mitigating any risks to nearby properties.

"Now that the main demolition is done, this is a significant milestone achieved and we are now entering the final phase of works. This includes site clearance, grubbing up the foundations to a 1metre depth, import of topsoil and seeding and installation of knee rail fencing. This will leave the site clear and ready for any potential future development.

"We are aware of the disruption projects of this nature can cause to residents. To that end, we would like to thank the local councillors and council officers for their work to keep local residents fully informed of progress, and of course, the residents for their patience and understanding while the project has been ongoing.”

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