‘Demolish it’ or ‘turn it into business units’ – your ideas for arson-hit Hawthorn Leslie shipyard

Emergency plans to bulldoze a derelict shipyard following a 16th arson attack in just two years have attracted contrasting views from Gazette readers.

By Gavin Ledwith
Friday, 14 June, 2019, 05:00
The derelict Hawthorn Leslie premises on Thursday.

The council is in contact with the owners of the empty Hebburn site and called for the buildings to demolished following Wednesday’s blaze.

The shipyard during better times in the 1960s.

Its announcement drew a mixed reaction from readers on our Shields Gazete Facebook page.

Some recalled their pride at working inside such a “beautiful building”.

Others felt it should have been demolished before now while there were also questions about why it has not been transformed into smaller units for growing businesses.

Karen Day said: “Still very sad though I use to work there when it was a training centre. Pity it couldn't have been used for something else

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Anita Short added: “I worked there as a receptionist. It was beautiful inside back in 1993, all wood panels, a room with model ships in and a lovely revolving door.”

Bernard Fox Down offered the following solution: “In the Midlands people are screaming out for cheap business premises.

“If that building was in the Midlands it would have been divided into smaller units and let out to small businesses and probably filled within days.

“Starting your own business is easier than you think, Ok it is hard work and takes some time to build up, but its very rewarding and satisfying watching it grow.”

Mark Young, however, responded: “Far too many businesses closing up here. Can’t see your suggestion taking off although I see your point.”

While no-one has been arrested, Michelle Peacock speculated: “What a messed up society we have when ‘kids’ think it’s funny to set fire to things. What happened to the days when the worst you done was play knocky door neighbour.”

Brian Goodman added: “It needs some sort of compulsory purchase order and then bulldozed.”