Fears for future of South Shields games area as housing plans drawn up

Ken Mitchell
Ken Mitchell

A row has broken out between residents and council chiefs over the future of a games area on a South Tyneside estate.

People living on Harton Moor in South Shields have hit out after it was discovered the ball court used by youngsters sits on land which could be earmarked for houses.

Brinkburn CA's multi use games area

Brinkburn CA's multi use games area

It could mean the area would be demolished along with part of the former Brinkburn Comprehensive School site - leaving youngsters with no where to go.

The court was paid for with £33,000 raised by residents, the area’s ward councillors and police in a bid to tackle the anti-social behaviour which once blighted the area.

The row has broken out the council handed over the lease for Brinkburn Community Centre - now named Brinkburn Charitable Interest Organisation (CIO) - after funding cuts meant the local authority was no longer able to retain the running costs for community centres.

It was discovered the boundary line drawn up by the council of land now under the CIO’s control does not include the area the ball court and tennis courts.

Residents are now calling for council chiefs to either let the CIO have the land or pay for games area’s re-location.

Ken Mitchell, Harton Moor resident and former chairman of the area’s residents’ association said: “The games area was put in to reduce anti-social behaviour on the estate. It was something the residents, the councillors and the police worked together on - and it wasn’t cheap.

“We all put a lot of hard work into it and now it could be bulldozed because it falls outside the boundary line of land now being leased by the CIO.

“The Harton Moor estate was always having problems with anti-social behaviour we all worked hard to reduce that. It feels like the council just wants the area to go back the way it was by taking something away that has helped to tackle that very problem.”

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “The land boundaries for the asset transfer of Brinkburn Community Association were clearly agreed between the council and Brinkburn CIO.

“Any land outside this footprint remains in the ownership of the council.

“The Strategic Land Review has identified sites which could be suitable and sustainable for potential development. The Council is still developing its draft local plan which residents, and any community groups, will be fully consulted on. Any sites allocated in the final plan would need planning permission before any development commences.”