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Historic social club set to be demolished and replaced with housing after years sitting empty

Boldon Colliery Working Men's Club
Boldon Colliery Working Men's Club

Time could finally be called on a 100-year-old former club which has staved off demolition for three years.

Businessman Kevin Washbourne has resubmitted plans already approved to pull down Boldon Colliery Working Men’s Club - known as The Big Club - and its stewards’ house.

He wants to replace the Station Road premises with seven four-bedroom townhouses, which he also won permission to build in August 2015.

Planning bosses at South Tyneside Council passed his scheme on condition work started within three years.

But the project, involving other parties, failed to take off, but Mr Washbourne, 58, and his wife Cheryl now plan to go it alone and expect housebuilding to start in about a year - subject to planning approval.

Mr Washbourne, who also owns a sign-making business and other properties in Boldon Colliery, said: “We simply ran out of time to carry out the legalities.

“We don’t have permission yet but if we do then the houses could go up with 12 to 18 months, and a further year to complete them.

“These will be affordable houses and the project a positive development for Boldon Colliery.

“The club is looking a little bit tatty and this scheme could help to regenerate this particular area and spruce it up a bit.”

Ward Labour councillor Joanne Bell said she hoped the development would quickly progress, should planning permission be won.

But she admitted to concern that further delay could lead to the club, built in around 1917 and which shut about five years ago, falling into disrepair.

Coun Bell added: “It was a popular place and a lot of people took it hard when it closed.

“The last time I looked the building seemed to be in good condition and we have not had any real problems with it.

“My only worry would be that it would not be in such good shape if there is another three-year delay.

“I hope the developer does not just try to keep it ticking over – I hope there is a real desire to do something with the building.

“To have these plans proceed would be better than seeing the site deteriorate, it’s such a landmark for the people of Boldon.”

The public has until Tuesday, August 28 to comment on the plans.