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Fight over street name in South Shields goes on

Westoe Drive residents are unhappy over housing development name.'From left Pat and Arthur Pigott with Ann Robertson
Westoe Drive residents are unhappy over housing development name.'From left Pat and Arthur Pigott with Ann Robertson

Residents living in a South Tyneside street are up in arms over the naming of a new development which they say is dividing neighbours.

People living in Westoe Drive have been left angered after the name Phoenix Court was given to a collection of homes built on the former site of drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre Phoenix Court.

This isn’t just about a sign, it has a much bigger impact than that locally.

Arthur Pigott

Despite writing to South Tyneside Council objecting to the name – it is set to stay after Places for People, which runs the development, decided against changing it.

Resident Arthur Pigott said: “There is a long history with Phoenix House and that’s why people around here did not want to have any reminder of it.

“At times, it was a fight just to live here when the centre was open. This isn’t just about a sign, it has a much bigger impact than that locally.

“Since it was raised, we have been told people living on the new development have been asked about the name and the majority want to keep it, which is dividing the community. The whole thing is ridiculous. There is a flaw in the process.

“We learned some time after the new houses were occupied Places for People did consider renaming the development and we would hope they would now revisit that decision.”

Mr Pigott has since written to the council following its response to an official complaint being logged, where he highlighted the regular newsletters during the course of the development, however, there was no publicity around what it was to be called in order to gain feedback from residents.

A spokesman for the council said: “The name Phoenix Court was chosen from a list supplied by Keepmoat Regeneration on behalf of Places for People. The necessary protocols for street naming were correctly followed. Since the coverage in the Shields Gazette, Places for People have reviewed feedback and decided that the name should remain as Phoenix Court.”

A spokesperson for Places for People said: “We are committed to building homes and places where people choose to live and communities thrive. We are pleased to be revitalising this area with the Phoenix Court development, which provides 22 high-quality, two-bedroom self-contained apartments, for people aged 55 and over.

“When naming the new development a shortlist of names was provided to the local authority for selection. All of these apartments are now occupied and there are no plans to change the name of the development.”

Phoenix House in Westoe Drive, South Shields, was the North East’s first long-term residential rehabilitation service when it opened in 1985. The pioneering drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre operated for more than 25 years, helping people tackle their addictions, before it closed its doors for the final time in 2012.

It was during this time, nearby residents say they were subject to a barrage of abuse.

The land has now made way for a number of two-bedroomed apartments for residents aged 55 and over.