Bee farm and tearoom planned for historic park site in Hebburn gets backing from senior councillors

Proposals to create a bee farm and education centre in a historic Hebburn park have taken a step forward, following a decision by senior councillors.

By Chris Binding
Saturday, 28th May 2022, 10:54 am

After being approached by a beekeeper, South Tyneside Council in its role as Charity Trustee has been considering proposals for Carr Ellison Park.

At its meeting on Wednesday, May 25, South Tyneside Council’s ruling cabinet supported the principle of a six-year lease for this purpose.

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Plans for a bee farm are gathering pace. Picture c/o Pixabay.

Subject to approval at borough council and final planning approval, the former park keeper’s lodge would become an apiarian training and educational centre with an observatory, beehives and a tearoom.

The new centre would also offer beekeeping courses and aims to draw wider interest from the community towards environmental issues and increased visitor numbers to the park.

Councillor Ernest Gibson, lead member for transport and neighbourhoods, introduced a report on the proposals to cabinet at South Shields Town Hall this week.

He said the plans would bring a long-vacant building back into use while also reducing vandalism in the park, with the beekeeper involved set to invest thousands of pounds into the project.

Councillor Margaret Meling, cabinet member for economic growth, skills and climate change, praised the scheme’s eco-friendly benefits.

“I think it’s a great idea and it’s very environmentally-friendly and it produces something of benefit to the community, I hope it goes ahead,” she told the meeting.

South Tyneside Council is the freehold owner of Carr Ellison Park and the land was acquired by Hebburn Urban District Council in March 1920 from Ralph Carr-Ellison.

The terms of the transfer provided that the land was to be held by the council “upon trust forever as and for a public part and pleasure gardens or recreations grounds for the use of the inhabitants of the town of Hebburn and for no other use intent or purpose whatsoever”.

Under the terms of the original transfer, a charitable trust was created with the council holding the park as Charity Trustee and being authorised to take decisions over the lease of the land.

The park keeper’s lodge is believed to pre-date the 1920 gift from Ralph Carr Ellison and has stood vacant since around 2015.

Under new proposals for the building, a lease would be granted to a new charitable incorporated organisation specifically for the purpose of running a bee farm.

After being endorsed by cabinet , the matter will be referred to full council for decision and will be subject to the necessary planning approvals.

Councillor Joan Atkinson, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council, welcomed the proposals.

”We know that bees are in decline across the world, so it’s very good that Hebburn is doing its bit,” she added.